Navy provides daycare in schools

Bradley Jimenez, 7, shows off his pastel-covered hands to 7-year-old Carolyn Zook during activity time at the SAFE Program held at Oak Harbor Elementary Tuesday. - Cynthia Woolbright
Bradley Jimenez, 7, shows off his pastel-covered hands to 7-year-old Carolyn Zook during activity time at the SAFE Program held at Oak Harbor Elementary Tuesday.
— image credit: Cynthia Woolbright

The Oak Harbor School Board accepted a proposal Monday night from the only childcare provider that submitted one for before- and after-school care programs.

The Whidbey Island Naval Air Station School Age Care SAFE Program will provide care at four elementary schools in the district, beginning with the start of the school year in September.

SAFE Program coordinators chose Clover Valley Elementary, Oak Harbor Elementary, Olympic View Elementary and either Hillcrest or Crescent Harbor Elementary as the four sites where the program will be offered.

“As part of the boundary revision recommendation and the implementation of the current policy on transportation ... community members expressed a real concern about before- and after-school care,” said David Peterson, assistant superintendent of Oak Harbor Schools.

The school district made a commitment, Peterson said, to help resolve before- and after-school childcare challenges for families that rely on daycare in order for the parents to go to work.

Child care at the schools will be available from 6:30 a.m. to the start of the school day, and from the end of the school day until 6 p.m. The proposal also provides for extended hours during late-start and early-release days. Additionally, the SAFE program is set to offer its summer camps program at Oak Harbor School District facilities.

The choice of the fourth school site, either Hillcrest or Crescent Harbor elementary schools, will be made after further investigation into logistics, Peterson said. A decision will be made soon, he said, on which of those school sites has the greatest need and would “make the most sense.”

The school district will communicate enrollment information to the community by mid- to late-August, Peterson said, so that parents may begin to enroll their children.

SAFE will offer before- and after-school care to all families with fees based on a sliding scale depending on total family income. Prices will range from $26 per week per child for a family earning under $23,000 per year to $52 per week per child for families earning more than $70,001 per year.

Separate fees scales are set for morning or afternoon care only, full- or half-time kindergarten SAFE program, and full-day camp sessions.

During daycare hours, SAFE will incorporate enrichment activities for the children in its care.

School Age Care Program officials also indicated, Peterson said, that the program will be able to expand to meet further demand.

“We’re just very excited about this. It makes a great deal of sense,” Peterson said.

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