HomeTop StoriesJamestown School Board must decide on childcare proposal

Jamestown School Board must decide on childcare proposal

Mar. 2—JAMESTOWN — The Jamestown Public School District is seeking approval for a proposal to provide child care for its staff through career and technical education programs, according to Superintendent Rob Lech.

Under the proposal, the Jamestown Public School District child care program would be able to serve existing staff for regular and drop-in child care during the school year. Students in the school district or enrolled in the GED program would also be eligible for free access to child care while attending school.

The Jamestown Public School Board could approve the proposal at its next meeting on Monday, March 4.

“If we want to retain the good people we have and recruit others, then you have to look at what you need, what can you offer that people are looking for and need, and childcare was one of the things that really rose to the top,” said Lech. “I think the benefits that align with the way we care for our families are quite important.”

In a memo to the school board, Lech wrote that the starting budget is estimated at approximately $715,000 for remodeling five classrooms, playground equipment, safety needs, infrastructure facilities, architectural design costs, equipment/supplies and travel.

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Lech said the school district was able to secure a $500,000 grant through the Regional Workforce Impact Program. He said the grant requires a 25% match.

“A few years ago we had written another grant for improvements to career and technical education,” he said. “So we’re going to use the funds from that grant because this is a career and technical program that we’re expanding, it’s a family and consumer science program for child development so we’re going to have access to that grant to pay the other costs. .”

The James Valley Career and Technology Center received an $800,000 grant from the Career and Technical Education Capital Projects Fund. Those dollars will go toward a planned project for the James Valley Career and Technology Center, which includes construction of a 7,000-square-foot expansion that will be used by the construction program to build lakeside cabins and house ambulances for training of students and the provision of public services. service in northeast Jamestown. “What we’re essentially doing is adding this program to that grant,” Lech said. “We still have one hurdle to overcome: getting approval from the state CTE (North Dakota Career and Technical Education) to do that, but our intention is to keep every project within the project that was previously requested in that grant. “

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The child care program could start in the 2025-2026 school year. Lech said some of the childcare program’s start-up costs could be absorbed through user fees. Lech said the school district could find partnerships to fund part of the school’s overall project. James Valley Career and Technology Center or move some dollars.

“We might do a little more in some programs, or a little less in other programs,” he said. “That’s still some way off and we’re still assessing that.”

The school district’s central office conducted a staff survey in October to gauge interest in a child care program. A total of 69 staff responded and the survey results showed that 15 staff had 19 children from birth to age 5 in childcare. Respondents said the average cost of childcare was more than $900 per month, Lech said.

He said having a childcare program could reduce the monthly cost of childcare and staff members would not have to pay to hold their spot during the summer months.

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“If we can remove the bottleneck in the community for childcare, the existing childcare programs may have less waitlisting because we might open up some of those spots to other people in the community,” Lech said. “Ultimately, our entire community could benefit from something like this.”

Staffing for the program would be scalable to eight infants, fifteen toddlers, and twenty preschool children, with two professional staff, including the existing child care development instructor, and three support staff.

“If we had fewer students, our classified positions would be less,” Lech said. “We wouldn’t need that many childcare workers.”

He said from a budgetary perspective, the school district’s goal is for the child care program to break even.

If the proposal is approved Monday, next steps include ensuring the James Valley Career and Technology Center infrastructure grant can be shifted to fund the expanded family and consumer science program and how the first year would be funded, according to the memo from Lech to the school. plate.

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