Benson school district takes lead on finding day care solutions for area

Error message

  • Notice: Trying to get property of non-object in taxonomy_breadcrumb_node_view() (line 70 of /home/swiftcounty/www/www/sites/all/modules/taxonomy_breadcrumb/taxonomy_breadcrumb.module).
  • Notice: Trying to get property of non-object in _taxonomy_breadcrumb_generate_breadcrumb() (line 117 of /home/swiftcounty/www/www/sites/all/modules/taxonomy_breadcrumb/taxonomy_breadcrumb.inc).
  • Warning: Invalid argument supplied for foreach() in similarterms_taxonomy_node_get_terms() (line 517 of /home/swiftcounty/www/www/sites/all/modules/similarterms/similarterms.module).
  • Warning: array_keys() expects parameter 1 to be array, null given in similarterms_list() (line 193 of /home/swiftcounty/www/www/sites/all/modules/similarterms/similarterms.module).
admin's picture
Children play outside on the spacious grounds of the Northside Elementary School Monday at noon. District 777’s Board of Education is considering some of the land to add six classrooms that would allow it to expand its early childhood and day care  to children in the area.

While Swift County, the City of Benson and Benson Public Schools have all discussed the pressing need for day care facilities in the community they have been unable to reach a consensus on how to go about meeting the challenge.

The costs of facilities and staffing, and meeting state requirements, are all hurdles that have to be cleared to move forward.

While the county and city see that a lack of day care spaces have a direct impact on economic development efforts in the area, as well as on the businesses that are already here, they have struggled to figure out what role they can, or should, play in addressing the crisis.

And it is a crisis.

“A crisis has been quietly brewing throughout Minnesota and the nation for many years now. People have been getting out of the in-home family child care business at a disturbing rate, creating a severe shortage over most of the state,” a study by Marnie Warner, research director for the Center for Rural Policy & Development released last September, said.

“The reality is that the shortage is creating a ripple effect with very real impact, not just on families but on employers and entire communities,” the study says.

“Child care or lack of it can dictate many things, like whether a parent can accept a job offer and which one, whether they can work at all, where they live, and how far they commute,” the Center’s study says.

“Reliable, quality child care in a community supports local business by giving parents child care they can count on. That in turn allows them to be undistracted and productive. Without adequate child care, local businesses are unable to recruit skilled workers and the workers they do have may be preoccupied with child care worries,” Warner writes in the Center’s study.

With the county and city on the sidelines, the school district has taken a lead in looking for solutions for the community’s day care shortage.

Over the past couple years, the school district has been ramping up its preschool programming and the day care services it offers the community, Supt. Dennis Laumeyer said.

Benson was among the 74 school districts and charter schools to receive limited state funding to expand preschool classes this year. Benson schools received $103,938 enabling it to offer free classes to all four-year-olds in the community. The state program is also funded for the next two school years.

Before the state funding was available, the school district had to charge a fee for four-year-olds and was unable to provide service to all the children of parents who wanted to have their children in school.

Providing programming for three-year-olds is not required by the state. However, the district does provide a half-day class for three-year-olds that meets three days a week. Entry into the class is based on space available and there is a charge for the classes....

 

For more on this story, and to keep up on all the latest news, subscribe to the Swift County Monitor-News print edition or our PDF internet edition. Call 320-843-4111 and you can get all the local news and sports delivered to you!

Pictured: Children play outside on the spacious grounds of the Northside Elementary School Monday at noon. District 777’s Board of Education is considering some of the land to add six classrooms that would allow it to expand its early childhood and day care  to children in the area.

Rate this article: 
No votes yet