Proposed City of Toronto 2012 budget cuts would affect 58 of 685 student-nutrition programs at Toronto public and Catholic schools Photo by Vanessa Santilli

Toronto budget cuts threaten school breakfast programs

  • December 8, 2011

TORONTO - Close to 7,000 Catholic elementary students could lose their breakfast program if proposed City of Toronto budget cuts are passed, says Trustee Maria Rizzo.

Without the breakfast program, kids will be going to school hungry, she said, and would be detrimental to student learning.

“I hope (Mayor) Rob Ford can make sure they'll give them a little bit of gravy,” Rizzo told The Catholic Register.

The proposed City of Toronto 2012 budget cuts would affect 58 of 685 student-nutrition programs at Toronto public and Catholic schools. The budget cuts could save the city about $400,000, Rizzo said.

The cuts would stem from a proposed policy that would continue long-standing breakfast programs but discontinue funding for newly established ones, she explained.

There are about 14,000 elementary Catholic and public school students who receive free breakfast before school.

“This is about taking care of our own. No one should go to school hungry,” she said.

The Angel Foundation for Learning, a non-profit organization, funds breakfast programs for 23 Catholic schools. It costs the Angel Foundation less than 50 cents per child to provide a nutritious breakfast, Rizzo said.

Meanwhile, child care programs based at public and Catholic schools could see an annual jump in fees by more than $500 under the city's 2012 budget, according to advocates.

Rizzo said “every non-profit child care centre in our school will be affected” through an increase in fees by parents or the closure of some centres because the city provides rent subsidy to some of them.

The TCDSB receives about $736,246 in child care rental payments from the city for 49 child care centres.

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