Parents of children attending Market Lane Public school are protesting the proposed imposition of user fees for their children at the next-door St. Lawrence Community Recreation Centre. Throughout the life of the rec centre, which was pushed forward against city-hall foot dragging by the St. Lawrence Neighbourood Assn. during the presidency of PJ Nicholson in the 1980s, Market Lane pupils have been using the facilities, including the swimming pool, without charge. That’s now going to change, parents report. Georgina Dash, mother of a Market Lane pupil writes: When the Market Lane Public School and St. Lawrence Community Centre were built, it was with the understanding that the students of our school would have free access to the facilities of the Centre which includes access to the swimming pool. Why, after operating under this arrangement for over 20 years, is the school (and the parents of the children of the school) now being asked to pay more than $24,000.00 to keep our swim program? Market Lane Public School is identified as a Model School for a reason. As parents, we are struggling to make ends meet with rising prices in the basics such as food, clothing and housing. Many of parents of our school cannot afford to pay for swimming lessons at the community centre. We therefore rely on the swim program to give children in our community opportunity to learn to swim and get exercise. This is from Angel Narick, another Market Lane parent: While the TDSB wrestles with a $16.5 million deficit and the loss of 250 teaching jobs, why are they on the hook for a further $24,000.00 per year to keep our swim program afloat? This same swim program which has been free to students of the school for over 20 years. The original understanding which the City had with TDSB was to allow the City to build the St. Lawrence Community Centre on TDSB property. In exchange, the City would provide swim instruction for every student. I cannot understand how in this “high needs” area; as childhood obesity is on the rise; as the City’s newest concern is ending childhood poverty in Model schools – how this new directive is still on Market Lane’s tab. How can you justify that to this concerned parent?