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School rental hike wallops small faith groups

He’s not turning the other cheek. Small churches are “under attack,’’ and an outraged Rev. Charles McVety is calling for a noon protest rally on Wednesday outside the Toronto District School Board’s head office at 5050 Yonge St.

The president of Canada Christian College says he’s heard from dozens of “distraught’’ members of small Christian congregations — many of them “new Canadians who don’t have a lot of money’’ — upset about the TDSB’s whopping increase in fees for the board facilities they use for services.

The increases are effective Sept. 1. What’s riling the churches isn’t just that they weren’t notified until the end of August, even though the decision was made by the board last February. (Other community groups, like soccer clubs, also face hefty fee increases.)

It’s the fact that the board has decided that faith-based groups will no longer qualify for subsidies provided by the Ministry of Education Community Use of Schools program, designed to make rental space more affordable for non-profit groups.

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