The president of CUPE Nova Scotia, Danny Cavanagh, is pleased to see the Minister of Education approve in principle the Hub School Model, as recommended by the School Review Process Study Report.
“It is a good start,” says Cavanagh. “CUPE has supported using school buildings in non-traditional ways as an alternative to school closures for a number of years. A little outside-the-box thinking never hurts, and we have lots to offer on ideas for hub models.”
CUPE’s submission to the School Review Process Consultation advocates that underutilized space in school buildings be used for badly-needed early learning and childcare.
“Using school buildings to invest in publically-funded and operated early learning and childcare centres would benefit children, parents and local economies,” Cavanagh says.
A report commissioned for CUPE by highly-respected economist Robert Fairholm suggested that investing in early learning and childcare would provide the strongest economic boost in terms of jobs and economic growth for Nova Scotia, significantly higher than other sectors.
“Opening up early learning and child care centres in community hub schools would pay for itself in terms of increased revenues for governments from the additional jobs and economic activity,” Cavanagh adds.
While the evidence clearly shows that access to public spaces strengthens communities, Cavanagh strongly cautions that any partnerships involving schools should exclude private, for-profit companies. “The opportunity to share space in schools should be limited to those organizations that share the school boards’ mission of public service,” he says.