On Monday, Feb. 8, the Esko School Board unanimously passed a motion to increase the rate for child care through the Cool Kids program and implemented a three day per week minimum.
The program will now charge $5 for before-school care and $7 for after-school care, resulting in a total of $60 dollars per week if all 10 sessions are used. This compares to the previous rate of $50 per week.
According to superintendent Aaron Fischer, the changes are necessary because the Cool Kids program experienced a deficit after providing free child care to qualifying families during the most recent COVID-19 school closure.
The three day minimum will also help keep the program from losing money, Fischer said. Previously run without a minimum, Cool Kids has seen a significant loss of staff and cannot afford to have empty slots.
The three day minimum will not apply to families only using Cool Kids on Mondays, which serve as half-days for the district, according to Fischer.
“We’ve always tried to be very user friendly," Fischer said, adding that he hopes to establish a subcommittee to further address program issues.
Board member Maggie Sunnarborg was involved with a meeting that included Cool Kids director Michele Carlson and Fischer, and said she is "very comfortable" with the higher rate and three day minimum.
The board plans to revisit the changes in one year.