Published On: Sat, Jan 23rd, 2016

School gets Daycare feedback

RANDOLPH — A school gym full of residents gathered Nov. 15 to hear the possibilities for a community daycare in Randolph in connection with the local school.

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Supt. Jeff Hoesing said a visit from the Fire Marshall in regard to the daycare at the school yielded only one concern.

A few windows would need to be changed to insure that firemen with full gear can get in and out of the school if need be in an emergency. No other concerns were raised other than ADA accessibility issues.

One certified teacher is estimated to be required for four infants. If a para is added, the school could serve eight infants or 12 toddlers, three years to older ages. One teacher to 10 children is recommended. These are estimates and not actual children signed up for the service. Nine infants would require two certified instructors and a para for a four-one ratio. Five children and four toddlers would mean a six-one ratio.

Hoesing said the school would be looking at a start-up cost of $65,000 to $95,000 to pay an instructor, including FICA, retirement and health benefits. A paraprofessional would require $27,000-$36,000. Staffing expenses could reach $225,000. A cost to remodel for an access window would be another expense.

“The window change will have to happen no matter what,’’ Hoesing said. “The fire marshall said any other materials don’t matter only that ADA requirements are followed.’’

Questions from the audience included inquiry about enrollment which is down at the high school level, but not in the elementary.

Four adults for eight infants and 12 toddlers would receive $100,000 in parent fees. This would be a service the school could offer that would at least bring some revenue back to the school.

Hoesing said Mary Miller has done a great amount of work on the project with a large amount of research into what will be needed to make the project a success.

“A meeting a couple days ago included talk about a daycare -preschool advisory council and putting together a handbook, policies and how to implement curriculum and help from volunteers,’’ Hoesing said. “There is also a need to fill in the gaps after school for children. This is an area where the community is needed to step up with volunteer efforts.’’

This effort cannot be something that the community can remove by special election or petition. Once a decision is made the program will be in place, Hoesing said.

The group listened to several other groups providing information about programs that differ slightly from what Randolph would offer.

Bloomfield Little Bees Daycare began in 2012. Emily Lauck spoke to the group on behalf of the daycare.

She said the daycare was a private effort and paid $300 rent for 1800 sq. ft., with the daycare paying their own phone. They were first licensed for 35 children and started with 20-25 children. The effort grew to 40 enrolled children including some after school.

“We are open 6 a.m.-6 p.m., even if there is no school,’’ Lauck said. “The Bloomfield school never had to consider running it, because we were operating it.’’

The other example Randolph looked at came from Superintendent Bryce Jorgenson of Shickley, located 30 miles from the Kansas border.

“Our preschool started four years ago,’’ Jorgenson said. “We hired one teacher and one para for up to eight children, then we kept adding personnel as we got more children. We found that option enrollment students would leave the district, however, the daycare students have stayed forever. One thing we have found is that people will not compromise on who takes care of their kids. They trust the school for food and measures such as training of personnel. It gives people a trustworthy option. We are open all the time with hours 7:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.’’

Jorgenson said he gets calls every other day from parents who want a spot for their children.

“The school readiness is amazing, but we hired an amazing teacher,’’ Jorgenson said. “The kindergarten teacher said the children are six months ahead of where they were before when they started kindergarten since they have attended this option for children. Social skills and transitions for children has shown a tremendous positive aspect for those involved.”

The program helps defray some of its operating costs with $68,000 paying for half the entire program, Jorgenson estimated.

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