Charlotte McGuire, an Ohio state board of education member, recenlty toured Northmont City Schools. Among her stops was a music class at Union Elementary, a visit with the superintendent’s advisory board and the Kleptz Learing Center. CONTRIBUTED

Northmont changes before- and after-school care program

The Northmont school district is changing its before- and after-school latchkey childcare program, contracting with the YMCA to run the program at all of its elementary schools.

Northmont Treasurer Ann Ferraro said in recent years, the YMCA of Greater Dayton’s Kleptz branch has run the program for Northmont’s Kleptz Early Learning Center, which houses preschool through first grade right next door. The school district has run the before- and after-school childcare program at its five elementary schools.

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“Our families and students are accustomed to it at our Early Learning Center, so it made sense to expand it out into our grade 2-6 buildings,” Superintendent Tony Thomas said. “There are some advantages to being part of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (system). Parents will now be eligible for a sliding scale of fees based on income that they couldn’t do with our current system.”

The price will rise, but Northmont’s service is still less expensive than many other providers and other school districts. Ferraro said up through this year, the school district has charged $30 per child per week for either before-school or after-school care, and $60 per week for both. Thomas said Northmont didn’t make much money on its latchkey service but didn’t lose money either.

The new service run by the YMCA – from 6:30 a.m. until school time, and from school time until 6 p.m. – will cost $40 per week for either before-school or after-school care, and $75 per week for both. There is also an hourly rate of $3.50 for infrequent users.

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“We have surveyed what other districts are (charging), and we always tried to stay at the bottom of that because we saw it as a service for our community,” Thomas said. “It’s important for our students to have a safe place to go before or after school.”

Two years ago, Kettering schools planned to make a similar move from a school-run service to a YMCA contract, but got community push-back. Kettering eventually kept the program in-house but raised their cost from $5 per hour to $7 per hour. Some private childcare providers in the Englewood/Clayton area also charge significantly more than the Northmont/YMCA price.

Thomas said Northmont sent out information about the program change and has not heard negative feedback. He said the YMCA, which works with Northmont on several projects, will also offer childcare services on school calamity days, which wasn’t the case at district elementary schools.

On Thursday, the school board voted to abolish its part-time “latchkey facilitator” jobs, for the adults who ran the elementary school programs for a few hours before school and a few hours after school each day.

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Thomas said some of them also hold aide positions during the school day. He said all have been encouraged to apply with the YMCA, and Thomas said the school district has other openings for non-teachers, so “there are multiple landing spots.”

Schools rightly focus on curriculum and education, but some additional programs like the childcare option make a big difference for families.

“I think the community appreciates it,” Thomas said, referencing the different hours that parents have to work. “If you’ve always been in this community, you may not know any different, but I think people who move in recognize what a value it is.”

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