Published On: Thu, May 11th, 2017

City, school both see need for daycare in Randolph

RANDOLPH — Making daycare available for residents in Randolph was one of the topics at the Randolph City Council meeting on Wednesday night, May 3rd.
City officials and Randolph School board members and administrative staff have put a lot of work into meeting the needs for daycare for the Randolph community but things are still up in the air.
The benefits and cost savings of having an available space in the elementary school building are being offered to groups or individuals that are interested in operating a day care.
The amount for a lease on the space could be as low as $100 or less and monthly utilities would be provided along with janitorial help.
Randolph School Supt. Jeff Hoesing, School Board President, Paul Schmit and secretary Sandy Owens, spoke to council members about daycare.
Ads had been placed stating the facility would be available for those who would be interested in operating a daycare.
As of the yet, no one has made an application, according to Hoesing.
“I don’t know what the board’s reaction will be if there are no applicants,” Hoesing said. “Daycare will be on the agenda for the May school board meeting.”
The location is ideal for a daycare with playground equipment already in place although having the school help with staffing the daycare would not be the best option as a number of rules and requirements would need to be followed according to Rule 11.
“If you look at a daycare along with Rule 11, it doesn’t look good. It would be hard to have a cash flow,” Owens said.
A suggested option would be for the city to hire the staff and the school would furnish the facility which would eliminate the cost of utilities and the higher cost for renting or purchasing a building.
Several council members voiced their opinion that this would not be a good option.
“We want to move the daycare along. We will do what we can but we do have constraints with our budget,” Council member Brad Bargstadt said.
Councilman Tim Lemmons had a concern if a daycare would even fit within the limits of the city’s budget.
“Right now we are already committed to a number of things that will affect our budget – the floodplain, streets that need work done and other updates,” he said.
Mayor Dwayne Schutt also had concerns with the financial aspect.
“I am all for a day care but we would have to have the number of kids that would be at the daycare. We would have to have some figures put together. There would have to be enough money coming in to pay the salaries that would have to be paid,” Schutt said.
The need for a day care was not questioned during the meeting. But who will run it?
“There is definitely a need for a day care” Hoesing said.
Schmit said he knew of a few families that are taking their kids to a day care in Norfolk and he has a grandchild that is going to a day care in Osmond due to the lack of daycare options in Randolph.
Two surveys that had been completed over a year ago showed a distinct need for daycare in Randolph according to Gary Van Meter, Community Development Director.
A third survey by the school early this year confirmed the need.
Having a facility that would make additional daycare available would be a good thing for Randolph, Van Meter said.
“Having a space available at the school would be a big benefit. Money would not have to be spent for bricks and mortar. The utilities would be paid. The school could provide guidance and curriculum,” Van Meter said. “This gives the community the opportunity to direct capital toward quality personnel without having to finance a new building or remodel an older structure. A cardinal rule in small communities is to not reinvent what is already available and ready to go. The planning search committee agreed early on that making a quality program that families could afford was more important than a new building.”
City Attorney Keelan Holloway could see the advantages of having more than one person be involved in running the day care.
“If two people would come together and share the responsibilities it would be easier to take time off, have vacation and have help in case of an illness” he said. “If a facility and the equipment are being provided – why wouldn’t someone be willing to do this?”