Options Community Services will continue providing a teen childcare program at Guildford Park Secondary, but only until July 2020.
The Surrey School District and Options, according to a release from the district Wednesday (Aug. 14), have “come to an agreement regarding the joint operation” of the Growing Together program.
Christine Mohr, Options CEO, said the “most important thing” was for the charity to be able to provide certainty as soon as possible.
“We will continue our search for a new location and we are confident that we will be able to move without disrupting childcare and services to those who count on us,” Mohr said.
Surrey Board of Education chair Laurie Larsen said the board’s priority “is supporting our young mothers who are students of the Surrey School District as they work towards graduation and beyond.”
Options has been running the program in partnership with the district for the past 33 years.
It was also one of the B.C. locations chosen to pilot the NDP’s $10-a-day childcare rates, and is licensed for 36 spots.
Several months ago, the charity received notice that the school district wanted it to move out of the facility by the end of August.
In July, Surrey Schools spokesperson Doug Strachan said the district “went to tender and will have a new daycare operator to manage that part of the program.”
Asked the reason behind the change, Strachan said the district felt it was “time to refresh our Growing Together program and refocus it again on our students, as well as explore other partnerships that can enhance the program.”
A notice of civil claim was filed against the Surrey School District on July 9, with Options disputing the validity of the termination notice.
“The School District failed to provide Options with reasonable notice that it was terminating Options’ licence of occupation,” the claim states Further, Options states the district “failed to act in good faith in its purported termination of Options’ licence of occupation.”
Strachan said the lawsuit is “not proceeding because we have an agreement,” adding that the “benefit of the agreement is that both parties now know where we stand and (what) the timelines are.”
He said that because of the agreement, the district and options aren’t “getting into any other details around it.”
The Surrey school district’s website describes Growing Together as a “district support program and daycare for students who are attending school and are expecting or are who are young mothers.”
– With files from Amy Reid