Bonanza Valley Voice -

B-B-E schools to re-open Jaguar Kids Connection

JKC to close for one week, set to re-open on September 4

 

The Jaguar Kids Connection operates in the elementary school building and also utilizes multiple playground areas on the school campus in Brooten.

At a work session on Monday, July 30 in Brooten, the Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa school board voted to re-open the Jaguar Kids Connection child care center as of Tuesday, September 4 following a one-week long closure. This comes on the heels of Tri-Valley Opportunity Council Inc., of Crookston, giving notice that they would end management of JKC later in August. Their final day of offering child care services will be Friday, August 24, with notice given to B-B-E on July 13.

At the July 30 meeting, Community Education director Josie Dingmann offered a revamped structure to JKC under which the school district would be responsible for management of services and budgeting of finances for the program. As it was when JKC was originally operated by B-B-E, the program would fall under the auspices of Community Education.

"We've done research and polled staff, parents and community members on what they want to see in a new JKC program," said Dingmann.

The new structure would be almost identical to what has traditionally been offered, including infant and toddler child care plus pre-school readiness and child care services. Dingmann will also seek commitments from families in the area of school-age child care and offer programming on an as-needed basis.

After extensive discussion of the program, the school board voted 7-0 in favor of JKC including school-day services that overlap the B-B-E school's four-day school week. Also included will be the option of Monday services.

"Currently the JKC has had about 17 to 18 kids on Mondays. Under our new program, we will need 20 students enrolled on Mondays to make it cash flow," said Dingmann. "School-age care will be offered if the need is there. That also has to cash flow the cost of another teacher," said Dingmann.

The new JKC will be open from 6:45 a.m. to 5:15 p.m., Monday to Friday. The Monday option will be available to families at least through January 2019. The school board will begin reviewing enrollment numbers this coming November in lieu of extending the Monday option for the rest of the 2018-19 school year.

With input from Superintendent Patrick Walsh, the school board agreed that it was important to give families a firm commitment behind Jaguar Kids Connection.

Walsh commented, "If we can offer a consistent Monday service, that will have value. We need consistency in what we're offering."

Walsh pointed out the estimated $100,000 or more of state funding a student brings in during their K-12 years, adding, "If you bring the families in, you get the kids for 13 years afterwards. They're not basketball players with free agency. They're more likely to stick around. Through all the research out there, the 'better' kids get at these younger ages, the better results it yields during their K-12 years. We have higher expectations for the program to provide more value for our families."

Dingmann will continue marketing the openings in the JKC classrooms. Currently, the big need is for more infant enrollment. Families can contact the school to inquire about openings by calling 320-346-2278, extension 1319. They can also connect with Mrs. Dingmann by e-mail at jdingmann@bbejaguars.org.

To read more information, including budget-related figures, see the next issue (August 2) of the Bonanza Valley Voice newspaper.

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