People using Cloquet Community Education services may soon notice changes in rates for some programs, including School Readiness, Early Childhood Family Education, Kids Corner and Kindercorner.

Following unanimous School Board approval on Monday, May 24, it has been decided that tuition rates for School Readiness and ECFE programs will increase, while Kids Corner and Kindercorner will be converting from an hourly rate to a flat rate.

Starting in the fall, tuition rates for some school readiness preschool classes will increase by nearly 11%, with ECFE classes increasing by approximately 4%.

Kids Corner and Kindercorner will switch from an hourly rate of $3.75 per hour rate to a flat school-day rate of $5 for before-school care and $10 for after-school care, or $12 for both. Non-school days will have a flat rate of $25 for a half day and $40 for a full day.

According to Community Education Director Erin Bates, the changing rates are due to structural shifts within some of the programs, as well as an increase in staff wages.

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Bates explained that the ECFE and School Readiness programs have not seen a rise in rates since 2018, despite inflating staff compensation.

She also said the School Readiness program will be doubling the length of school days for preschool classes of 4-year-old children due to requests from parents.

“It’s kind of like a whole format change," Bates said, adding that preschool families not seeing an increase in class hours will not experience much of an increase in rates.

As for the change in rate structure at Kids Corner and Kindercorner, Bates said this was done to simplify billing.

Currently, billing for these programs is calculated by using an extensive number of spreadsheets. According to Bates, by switching to virtual child check-ins and flat rates, the process will become much more efficient.

When Bates compared the proposed child care rates to those of other districts, she found them to be parallel to rates found in Duluth and an average for the varying rates seen in Barnum.

After board member Ken Scarbrough raised a question regarding impact on families, Bates alluded that each family will experience a different financial impact based on the programs they choose to enroll in.

This story was updated at 8:30 a.m. May 26 with clarifying information regarding Kids Corner and Kindercorner rates. It was originally posted at 3:40 p.m. May 25.