So, at the daycare we have access to a bunch of different programs (paid for by taxpayers of course) but MAN it is a huge pain in the arse to navigate! This is par for the course with govt programs, with paperwork being so berserk it's crazy! One of the programs is a $1000 Professional Development available per staff member per year. Basically, we can take some courses and apply to get the money back through this grant. There is also a Technical grant we can use for the same thing, providing we did not already get the money from the Prof Dev grant.
We took a course for Fine Motor Skills on March 30th. It was originally supposed to be free but at the last minute (as in, the day before the course), a fee for the textbooks was added. We went to the course, paid with a cheque, and then sent our forms off to the Prof Dev Grant place.
We just got letters on Monday stamped DENIED. The reason? Apparently if you are taking a course between April 1, 2009 and March 31, 2010, you have to send the forms in by FEBRUARY 15 2010. Because we didn't send the form in until April, they won't use the Prof Dev grant money to reimburse the center...... But we cannot apply for it on the next fiscal year's funding either because the course itself was taken before April 1, 2010. WTF?
I have not used a penny of my grant allowance in 3 years. That means they 'saved' $3000 of tax payer dollars in that time, and won't give me $90 now. It really doesn't make much sense. The same for my two coworkers that send in their forms... they have not used any money in even MORE years than me. And they can't get their 90 bucks back.
Now of course, the argument can be made that I should not be expecting my fellow tax payers to foot the bill for my course. That is not my point here - the point is the totally craz bureaucracy that goes on with programs like this. We phoned the govt agency to ask about this denial, and the woman was SO rude and snotty I was ready to throw the phone out the window. First she told us that we 'must stop sending in outdated forms to apply for these things and from now on she is no longer going to process ANY outdated forms from our center. Effective Immediately' (high and mighty snooty voice)...... Then she told us that we should know what courses and workshops we are taking a YEAR in advance and therefore should have no problem getting forms in on time.
Sorry but what planet does she live on??? I have worked in this field since 1994 and I have NEVER known a year in advance about ANY upcoming workshop or course! Unless of course you count a college one in relation to the Early Child Development programs. But other courses and workshops? No way. We get them emailed to us and are lucky to get 2 weeks notice for some, or maybe a few months tops. Not even 6 months. But this blowhard at the govt office was telling us we should know a year in advance....
She did not respond at all to our query of 'what happens if they change the price at the last minute, like what happened in March, and therefore we cannot possibly know of that in advance'. She literally did not say a word, did not answer us, and despite repeating the question she would not answer. She eventually just repeated that our applications were denied.
Here are my several issues with this:
1. This 'registered and accredited center' garble is peddled to parents in a way to 'ensure' them that their children will be in the highest quality care, but when it gets right down to it, our applications for the funding are denied more times than accepted. The idea is touted to parents and taxpayers as a legitimate way to spend their funds, when good centers with long-standing staff are shafted more times than not. It makes me not want to apply for another course ever again if the province that is forcing us to do professional development refuses to support our efforts at the end of the day.
2. The paperwork - I mentioned that we used outdated forms right? Well every 1-2 years we get a whole new set of paperwork and can never keep up with what forms have been updated, and what forms are still okay to use. I had a huge stack of forms printed in 2006 so I used those... but apparently there were new forms in 2009. I went to the govt website and could not find them. I followed links back and forth between two others and still could not find them. Finally I got a totally different website addy and found the forms there. I checked them out, and there is ONE LINE different between the 2006 and 2009 forms.
So in this day and age of Recycle Reuse, I'm supposed to throw out all of the old forms and destroy them. That's the govt for ya - trying to make you conserve energy at home in the same of Save The Planet, but throwing out unbelieveable tons of paper every year. There were 6 new forms and I looked at all of them, and there are very very minor changes to most. Why should we throw out perfectly good old forms when one line has changed??? I suppose one thing they changed is instead of mailing them to us, we can download them online and only print off what we need, but I have a large cardboard box of govt papers that I have to shred and then drag to recycling depots... All because someone in the bureaucracy decided to change one line of the former forms.
Yes I am droning on about this, but it is getting so irriatating. Meanwhile the woman being snotty to me on the phone makes far more than I do, and has benefits and probably a nice govt pension program when I am the one working directly with the children, that this money is supposed to be helping. That's nice.
3. The govt cracking down hard on it's rules and regs is causing huge paperwork headaches across the province. Having no 'grey area' might seem like a good idea to some, but they seem to be taking a harder stance against the wrong people. We have not filed incorrectly before, we have not been 'late' before, and this has not happened to us before with a course fee changing last minute... but we were given no grace period whatsoever. Because of businesses/people that try to scam the system or send in papers 6 months late and cause headaches at the govt office, we get treated like the crap on someone's shoe.
This is what REALLY happens to your tax payer dollars -- it doesn't often go to where it's actually supposed to go. Just so you know ;)