Kearney Public Schools' new schedule proves challenging for some
Finding convenient and affordable child care can be a difficult task for any parent.
This year Kearney Public Schools introduced a new schedule that sees K–8 students get one Wednesday off a month, throwing a wrench in many parents' schedules.
For child care professionals like Diann Martin, director of Pumpkin Patch Daycare at the United Methodist Church who also has several children in KPS schools, the extra days off cause conflicts with parents who have their own work schedules to worry about.
"Its very difficult, in the middle of the week to find the time to get some of the parents to take the kids to school early for breakfast, and then finding a daycare they can bring them to for breakfast when they need to be there by 7, things like that that's in there normal routine, its hard to throw that once a month in," said Martin.
Administrators at Kearney Public Schools were aware of the challenges this new schedule might present, and have tried to partner with community organizations to ease the burden on parents.
"We really looked at that going into these days we wanted to keep the day consistent and this year its Wednesdays. Whatever day is chosen you want it to be a consistent day, there are a lot of programs going on on these Wednesdays for kids so parents have a place to take their kids. In our district we provide a KCLC program at Kenwood Elementary, the YMCA is offering one as well as the children's museum so those are the three I know off," said Jason Mundorf, associate superintendent for Kearney Public Schools.
These community partners take different approaches to the day off.
Up at Rowe Sanctuary, staff have organized nature days for students to keep learning on their days off.
"We got a letter from KPS saying they were having these 8 days off school and that if we wanted to plan a program for their kids on those days they would promote it for us," said Beka Yates, education manager at Rowe Sanctuary.
While these extra activities help, some feel that without changing the scheduling around the days they will stay an inconvenience.
"As a mom and daycare provider I don't feel the benefits of this, middle of the week is a terrible time to throw these kids into a different schedule I feel its not beneficial to them at all," said Martin.
KPS administrators say they plan on keeping the days off, eventually expanding it to the high school as well, but will continue trying to provide alternative childcare through community partners and developing a schedule that is easy for parents to work with.