Lonedell R-XIV Superintendent Jen Ulrich

The Lonedell R-XIV School District will develop its own after-school daycare program this year after the board of education agreed there is need to provide one.

During its July meeting on Wednesday, the board unanimously approved offering the program.

Originally, the daycare was going to be set up and operated by the Four Rivers YMCA of Washington. However, Superintendent Jen Ulrich told the board that she has had some issues in getting a commitment from Mary Kampschroeder of the YMCA to organize it and then run it.

Ulrich said there was some disparity between the two entities on the potential number of students who have signed up and would use the program and that trying to get the program up and running through the YMCA over the summer has been more difficult than expected.

“According to our parent survey, this is a much-needed resource,” Ulrich said.

The superintendent also said that the YMCA needs a commitment from the school of at least 15 students before it would establish the program.

She also said that according to Kampschroeder, the YMCA has signed up only three.

“I feel they may have displaced some applications, and we are working on getting that straightened out,” Ulrich said. “Many more parents have told us that they are enrolled.”

Ulrich then told the board that, “They (YMCA) are not moving forward with preparing a program in our district.”

The superintendent said about 12 parents attended a meeting on the subject earlier this year, and that the majority of those in attendance stated that they intended to enroll their students in the after-school daycare.

The discussion led to board President Kathy Reed saying that, “I’m concerned with the YMCA’s lack of organization with this.”

The talk then turned to whether Lonedell could create and offer the program on its own.

“As long as we could cover our costs, it’s a service I want to provide our community,” Ulrich said, adding that she and Principal Sue Emmons would do the work in establishing the daycare. “Our survey showed that it’s needed.”

The program would be available from the end of school to about 5:30 or 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. The cost for it was not finalized.

It would not be available before school.

“I feel like we kind of made a commitment to some parents to offer this,” Ulrich said. “I think there are some families that would really appreciate it.”

Ulrich told The Missourian after the meeting that the ultimate goal would be to start the program, get it established and “let the YMCA take over from there.”

However, board members agreed that once the district offered it, the program must remain available through the academic year whether the YMCA takes it over or not.

“I think it’s a good idea, and I support us doing it,” Reed said.

Ulrich said she will see if any R-XIV teachers would be interested in supervising the program. If needed, she said, someone currently not employed by the district could be hired.