When classes resumed in the Washington School District Friday, new extended care programs were up and running at Augusta and Marthasville elementary schools.
At Marthasville, both a before- and after-school care program will be offered, and at Augusta, an after-school only program, according to Shelley Kinder, district CFO.
Kinder said there also had been requests to operate a before-school program at Washington West Elementary, but there was not enough interest to make it work at this time.
Currently, there are two students enrolled in the before-school program at Marthasville and 17 for the after-school.
“We’ve already had to add another facilitator at that site as our cutoff is 10,” Kinder said.
Augusta has about five students enrolled for the after-school program, she said, but there was not enough interest for a before-school program.
Kinder said the principals at both schools believe the programs will “take off” next year when parents realize how reasonable the cost is for them.
“They both stated ‘This is something our parents need,’ ” she said.
Kinder said the district is not looking to make a profit with any of the sites, but rather operate a break-even program.
“We are currently training on the software to track attendance and time to charge,” Kinder said. “We will not be able to implement the software by the first day, but should have it up and running shortly thereafter.”
The district also plans to offer before- and after-care programs at the new Early Leanring Center (ELC) when it opens in August.
“We will work with the staff and parents at the new ELC this spring to ensure we are up and running for the first day of school at that building,” Kinder said.
The software also will be used to track preschool attendance and students served by the Parents as Teachers program at that center.
Currently, there are no plans to implement extended care programs at any of the others buildings for next year unless the need arises, Kinder said.
The district decided to pilot its own after-care programs second semester at Marthasville and Augusta after the Four Rivers Area YMCA dropped its after-school program at those sites due to low participation numbers.
Kinder said that put many parents across the river in a bind, and it got school officials thinking about operating their own program and expanding it to before school as well.
“We all are very excited about it,” she added.
School officials said they appreciate its partnership with the YMCA, which will continue to operate after-care programs at other schools in the district.