After-school care moving to YMCA for two area schools

Beginning this school year, students from Helmsburg Elementary and Brown County Intermediate schools will be cared for after school at the Brown County YMCA.

This change in the after-school program will be piloted for nine weeks to make sure the YMCA can financially support the program, Superintendent Laura Hammack announced at the July 6 Brown County School Board of Trustees meeting.

This is being done to cut overtime pay in the school district. Most after-school care program directors are also paraprofessionals who go into overtime after they work a full school day in a classroom, she said. Those situations were occurring at Helmsburg and Sprunica elementaries and the intermediate school.

By allowing the YMCA to manage the program, the school district could save around $16,200 in overtime pay, she said.

Managing overtime was part of the $1 million in budget-cutting recommendations which Hammack presented earlier this year.

Helmsburg Elementary School students participating in after-school care will ride a shuttle bus to the intermediate school, which will pick up students there and take them all to the YMCA.

The program would run from around 3:15 to 6 p.m.

Parents will be charged the same amount for after-school care at the YMCA that they did when the school district hosted the programs.

Families would pay fees and register for after-school care at the YMCA. The YMCA would hire the supervisor and the assistant for the program.

“Everything would be taken care of them by them,” Hammack said.

If the YMCA isn’t able to sustain the program after nine weeks, then the school district would take it back and would figure out ways to avoid overtime by adjusting schedules for paraprofessionals who work the after-school program.

“We don’t want to set up the YMCA to be in a financial burden by taking this on. We want this to be a win-win for both of our organizations,” she said.

Or if it looks like the YMCA is able to sustain it after nine weeks, then discussions would begin on how to bring in students from Sprunica and Van Buren elementary schools to the program, Hammack said.

“Our after-school program has been great because it’s a safe place for boys and girls. This is going to allow kids to be engaged in the Y activities and have time for homework. It just seems like a nice community collaboration,” she said.

Helmsburg Principal Kelli Bruner will be contacting families this summer before the start of school to let them know of the change.

This change could cause parents to drive further out of their neighborhoods or divert from their normal routes after work to pick up their children.

“Honestly, as she (Bruner) looked at the kiddos who typically access care, she almost wonders if this might be a benefit, because they’re coming through town anyway,” Hammack said.

“However, we do realize this will likely be different for some families, and they will have to come to town in order to pick up their kiddos. That will be a change,” Hammack said.

“As we look at expanding Sprunica and Van Buren, that’s certainly something we want to keep in mind.”

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Suzannah Couch grew up in Brown County, reading the Brown County Democrat. A 2013 Franklin College graduate, she covers business, cops/courts, education and arts/entertainment.