Funding cuts have forced Edmonton Public Schools to charge higher rents to leaseholders such as daycares, nurseries and other non-profit groups.

Nearly 200 non-profit groups will start paying more to lease space in schools this fall.

"On average, the lease rates for use of buildings will go up $2 per square metre this year and will increase over the next four years," said Lorne Parker, managing director of planning, property management and student transportation with Edmonton Public Schools

The school district claims it has been subsidizing many of those leases and now needs to offset its costs.

"The increases announced will bring us more in line with capturing the true cost of operating that space," Gibson said.

ABC Headstart runs preschool and support programs for low-income families.

Executive director Andrea Hesse said the rent increase means costs will go up half a million dollars over the next four years, something her non-profit agency can’t afford.

"That may mean some tough decisions," she said.

"It may mean we look at how we deliver our programs, the number of programs we run, the amount of space we're able to deliver and what that could mean for programming."

Hesse said many of the children in the ABC Headstart programs have nowhere else to go for early-learning services.