At Russell Township’s regular council meeting on January 30, council approved a salary increase of approximately 20 per cent for Graduate and Non-Graduate Educators. According to township officials, this is the first step in a plan to attract and maintain daycare personnel, as well as increase daycare spaces in the township. The municipality is also looking into assisting employees with schooling costs toward obtaining their Graduate Educator Status.
“While the Township of Russell has no obligation to provide such services, council feels the support of our residents in this area is an invaluable necessity for the continued growth of our community,” stated Mayor Pierre Leroux, in a letter to residents. “While these steps bring us closer to addressing the current shortage we find ourselves in, we need your help. If you have viable ideas or suggestions on how to address these issues, I would love to speak with you. You can reach me at pierreleroux@Russell.ca.”
Township officials have some further steps planned pending Education Ministry approval. The township wants to reopen the private daycare at Mother Teresa Catholic School for an additional 186 daycare spaces, which will include preschool and before/after daycare services. As well, the Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario has requested that the township take over as the daycare provider at St-Joseph Russell Catholic Elementary School, which will allow an increase from the current offering of 108 spaces to 270 spaces.
The township is also looking into possible solutions for the future, like turning local arenas into daycare centres following the construction of the Recreational Complex and mounting recruitment campaigns throughout colleges in the United Counties of Prescott-Russell (UCPR).