Lifelline , off loading or Privatization

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Aug 07, 2008 04:48 PM   Toronto Star 

    Star Education Reporter

The Ontario government will provide $4 million to keep Toronto school pools afloat for one more year while the board, city and province work on a long-term funding model.
David Crombie, who was asked by Toronto District School Board trustees to help find a solution, sent a letter board Chair John Campbell today asking the city, board, and province to set up an aquatics working group.
In the meantime, he's also asked the province to provide one-time funding to keep the pools operational for one year.
Michelle Despault, a Ministry of Education spokesperson, said this afternoon the government has committed to providing the lifeline to the pools if the city and board agree to the working group and Crombie's other recommendations. The money will come from the Ministry of Health Promotion.
However, the board has to transfer operation of the 39 pools to its arms'-length Toronto Lands Corporation.
School swimming programs are to continue.
"We are saying that these are community assets and a part of the infrastructure, and we are willing to provide funding while (the working group) is looking at a longer-term solution," Despault said.
The education ministry does not provide any money to boards for school pools. The Toronto board decided to close 39 of its pools this past June.
Crombie has also asked for $100,000 to conduct an audit of all pools, their condition and usage.
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