Special meeting planned on school daycare proposal

RANDOLPH — A special Randolph School Board meeting will be held next Tuesday to discuss a proposed school daycare facility.

The special meeting will be held March 7, at 7 p.m., at the elementary school gym.

The purpose of the meeting is to allow for additional public discussion on a school-based daycare and alternative solutions to the problem of a daycare shortage in the community, said Supt. Jeff Hoesing.

Board members will be present to listen to community input and share ideas, but no formal action on this concept is planned until the March 20 regular school board meeting, Hoesing said.

At the Feb. 20 school board meeting, the school board received public input from approximately 30 patrons after sharing its daycare findings.

School Board members learned that estimates call for two certified teachers and two paraprofessionals. These salary expenses would add up to about $225,000, Hoesing said.

“One certified teacher and para could run a program with up to eight infants. A second teacher and para could run a toddler program of up to 12 children,” he said.

Some of these expenses would be offset by the parent fees. If the program is “full,” estimated parent fees would be around $100,000.

Hoesing also noted the additional hires would mean the Randolph School would fit the Affordable Care Act’s definition of being a “large employer” (over 50 full-time employees).

It is estimated this could result in anything from no cost up to an additional $60,000 for insurance coverage to employees that currently receive no insurance as a small employer.

“It’s anyone’s guess how the ACA guidelines might change in the next year,” Hoesing said.

The cost of renovation for the facility is estimated at $20,000 for room renovations, $30,000 for HVAC upgrades and $5,000 for plumbing.

New windows are not included in these figures. Estimated costs of equipping those rooms with cribs, cots, furniture, toys, blankets, dishware, etc., were around $5,000.

The day care could contract with the school’s hot lunch program for meals on the days the K-12 school is in session. For days when school is not in session, we may be able to use either the Sr. Center or the nursing home to contract with them for meals.

Hoesing said hours of operation have not been determined yet. Initially, they were planned to run from 7 a.m.-5 or 5:30 p.m. Some of the surveys returned expressed concerns “that’s not long enough.”

The program would be a Rule 11 program, but not Health and Human Services certified, Hoesing said. Because of this, families would not be eligible for HHS reimbursement. It is the school’s hope, that if a daycare is started, the community, through their foundation, might have funding available and criteria established to help those families that need some financial assistance.

There is not an after-school program for school-aged students in conjunction with daycare as it is anticipated numbers would balloon to the point where additional staffing would be required, Hoesing said.

The school would be open to opening the building to an after-school program if volunteers from the community would organize, manage and staff it.