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Bradford school board considering daycare program

By Crystal Burns,

Bradford Special School District could offer daycare if leaders determine the program is feasible.

Director of Schools Dan Black broached the subject with the school board at the district’s February 26 meeting. He said the district has already contacted the State Fire Marshal’s Office to request an inspection of portable buildings that could be used. The program would be open to children ages six weeks to three years. The district already has Pre-K for four-year-olds.

The state Department of Education would have to approve the daycare.

Black said the goal would be to get children in the district off to an even earlier start as learners.

“We’ll start them as one-year-olds learning instead of as four-year-olds learning,” he said. “We want it to be educational.”

To make room for the four needed classrooms, the district would move Coordinated School Health out of one portable and into the elementary school and seventh and eighth grade classes out of another portable and back to the high school pending the fire marshal’s inspection.

Black said his biggest concern is the cost of running a daycare. He said the district shouldn’t expect to make money but should at least break even.

“We don’t want to lose money on something like this,” Black said.

He and Buni Wendt, who oversees the district’s before- and after-school care, have visited Jackson Christian to observe its daycare program. Wendt would add daycare to her list of responsibilities if the board decides to take it on.

“I definitely think there’s a need in the community for it if we can make it happen,” said board member Mark Hampton.

The board planned to discuss the possibilities further at its March 3 retreat.

Music room update – Black told the board the state fire marshal had approved the architectural plan for an auxiliary building to be used for music classes. Representatives of Lashlee-Rich, the district’s construction manager, have a bid meeting scheduled for interested contractors this week.

Black said the existing portable where music classes currently meet would be moved.

Safe room – Larry McCartney, director of Transportation & Maintenance, told the board at least 150 residents used the tornado safe room at the elementary school Saturday night, Feb. 24. The safe room is open any time a tornado warning is issued in the Bradford area. When school is not in session, the district pays staff to unlock the school and monitor the safe room.

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