Changing school start times would affect child care

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While Jefferson City Public Schools and the community are preparing to decide whether or how to adjust school year 2019-2020 start-up schedules, one of the leading providers of after-school after-school care anticipates difficulties if Older students leave school an hour later than their younger counterparts. brothers and sisters.

JCPS is studying how to better synchronize all its school start times so that all elementary buildings start at the same time and all secondary buildings the other one hour apart. District officials said the change would save about $ 500,000 a year in bus transportation costs, and could help alleviate some bus headaches and new road problems posed by the need to adapt to Capital City High School.

The school district has scheduled two upcoming public meetings for the community to discuss proposed changes for the start time: 6:00 pm. Tuesday, January 29 at Lewis & Clark Middle School; and 5 pm Thursday, January 31st at Thomas Jefferson Middle School.

One option would be for all elementary students to enter school one hour earlier than middle and high school students, and for high school students to move closer to 9 am to take advantage of the research results: students older students do better in school with later start times.

School start times in the district are currently dispersed between 7:50 am and 9:00 am, although buildings in middle and high schools tend to start earlier at 7:50 am or 8:00 am.

"As we have already studied in the past, this is the most important thing we have heard. It's a real problem for our families. At present, all of our high school students come in first and elementary students leave second place, older children come home and go home, so it's child care. for our families. Jason Hoffman, JCPS Finance and Operations Manager, said Friday morning at the community community forum with Superintendent Larry Linthacum. watched online.

"I think there will be an increase in demand for after-school care" if the school district changes so that older siblings leave school later, said Jessica Kever Friday. Kever is the Director of Child Care for the YMCA YMCA Program at Jefferson City Area.

She said more than 400 students use Y-Care, available at all JCPS elementary schools, with the exception of East and Callaway Hills.

The state-approved program is open to students from kindergarten to grade 5 and offers opportunities such as physical education and a snack. The cost is a $ 30 non-refundable registration fee due at the time of registration and a monthly fee ranging from $ 125 to $ 180, depending on whether the child is being cared for. morning or afternoon and if a parent is a member of the YMCA. Financial assistance for eligible families is available.

Belair, Cedar Hill, Lawson, Thorpe Gordon and West elementary schools offer Y-Care programs in the morning and afternoon; The Moreau Heights and North Elementary schools offer only afternoon care on site. The YMCA transports students from Pioneer Trail and elementary schools in the South to the Knowles YMCA in the afternoon.

"We are full in most of our schools," said Kever, adding that the length of waiting lists depends on each school and the willingness of parents to receive their child in the morning or after school. midday.

Kever also said that elementary schools let slip closer to 15 hours. tend to be the most complete because parents can not usually withdraw from work as early as

YMCA members have priority on waiting lists for Y-Care. Once early registration is complete, registrations are made on a first-come, first-served basis – regardless of the number of members – and parents must re-enroll their child each year.

Kever said that Y-Care would likely eliminate its morning programs and expand its license for afternoon programs if JCPS changed the time of its beginnings in order to increase demand for childcare after l & # 39; school. She added that the number of registrations to all Jefferson City programs is currently limited to 60.

She added that the expansion of licenses was not a complicated process: it only required paperwork and the purchase of additional supplies. The Blair Oaks elementary school program has been expanded to 80 children. But "it's really a staffing problem for us," she explained. could present. "It's about finding leadership."

Mr. Kever explained that one of the reasons Y-Care was trying not to expand was because every school had to have a principal – essentially someone with a college diploma from four years or a minimum level of experience.

The Missouri Department of Health and Social Services needs a licensed day care center with a capacity of 21 to 60 children and a director with 60 hours of university semester – 12 of which are child-related – or 24 months of experience and 12 semesters of university hours in children's classes.

A reception capacity of 61 to 99 children surpasses these requirements up to 90 hours of college, of which 18 related to children, or 36 months of experience and 18 hours of classes dedicated to children . Taking care of 100 or more children on a site requires a director with even more hours or experience in college, although six hours on universities may include courses in business or management.

Childcare centers that monitor children 5 years and older must also have a caregiver on 16 children – adds Kever, every minute the center is active.

"We rely a lot on college students" for the staff, she said, especially graduate students in education. "As for the assistants on site, we would be ready to have volunteers," she added. It can be difficult to find enough people to work part time and be part of a consistent workforce.

His other concern about a possible change in school start times that would require high school students to leave school later is that Y-Care currently has six high school students working. High school students must be at least 18 years old to work at Y-Care. She stated that they usually joined the second semester of their last year.

She added that daycares also need to have 35 square feet of space available for each child supported.

More information about Y-Care is available at the following address: www.jcymca.org/?page_id=395.

The News Tribune also contacted the Boys & Girls Club of Jefferson City on Friday, but could not speak to anyone of the ability of this program to grow. The Boys and Girls Club hosts approximately 230 students in its main building, as well as 180 others in the after-school programs at Callaway Hills Elementary Schools and Pioneer Trail and Thomas Jefferson and Lewis & Clark Middle Schools.

The Boys and Girls Club registration is open to children aged 5 to 18 from kindergarten to Grade 12. The fee is $ 25 per semester and the maximum contribution for a family of three or more children is $ 50 per semester. A minimum of first month membership fees must be submitted with a request.

Eligible children for a free or discounted lunch at school enjoy full scholarships at the Boys and Girls Club during the school year and partial scholarships during the summer camp.

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More information is available at the address bgcjc.com/home.

JCPS communications staff said Friday that the district did not know how many students were using their older siblings to take care of their children after school hours.

Mallory McGowin, communications and marketing specialist at JCPS, said the district counted the number of students attending Y-Care or the Boys & Girls Club, and the number of coaches or cars. In addition, the number of passengers by car includes students taken in charge and transported. by their daycares.

Ryan Burns, director of communications for JCPS, said the district leaders had recently met with staff from the Jefferson City University Center, Nichols Training Center and Belair. Burns added Friday's comments from Belair's staff – whose start time is currently 9 am – about a possible earlier start time was extremely positive.

Hoffman said that the start time of Friday Nichols at 8 am probably would not change, at least for the next school year because students sent from area schools are served in the morning, and that students high schools in Jefferson City and Capital City could attend in the afternoons and leave an hour earlier. . "We would like to try and see if it works – it seems like it would work," he said.

Hoffman added that a voluntary "zero hour" could be offered to high school students – "there would be no transportation, but if there are students who really need to be in school," he said. be gone earlier, they can not stay until 4 o'clock in the afternoon. " for some reason, they could take a zero hour class and leave an hour earlier. We also offer work study programs at the secondary level. "