Before school childcare to be offered at Del Mar Schools

Del Mar Union School District administration offices.
(Karen Billing)

This upcoming school year the Del Mar Union School District will begin offering parents the option of before school care at all eight school sites.

Assistant Superintendent of Instructional Services Shelley Petersen said the idea was a result of community members stating a need for supervised childcare before school starts at 8 a.m—currently students aren’t allowed to arrive on campus before 7:45 a.m. A report was brought before the board in April and the district moved forward surveying families to determine the interest level and sustainability of the program.

The survey had 579 responses and found that 45 percent, or 262 parents, were interested. The survey also questioned parent preferences on time, cost and contractual commitments.

Justin Slagle, manager of after school programs, said that although it was a relatively small response representing just 13 percent of the district, “a significant portion of the district has a desire for before school care” and based on the survey’s interest level results, there would be enough participants to cover all operation costs.

Supervised care wil begin at 6:30 a.m. and run until school begins at 8 a.m. Breakfast will be provided and students will participate in self-starting welcoming activities and options such as homework check, arts and crafts, games, reading or quiet time.

The cost would be $10 a day and parents would agree to a two-month commitment. The program will replace the complimentary program that was partially funded by the district at Del Mar Hills Academy (that program began at 7:15 a.m.).

Just like with the district’s after school program, San Diego County has an alternative payment program that offers child care subsidies to families who are income eligible and have a need for child care services. “We want to ensure all students have a safe place to go,” Slagle said.

Slagle said the program would need 141 students a day across the district to break even and he is confident that they will meet that mark. Even if they do not meet the daily attendance, Slagle said they are committed to running the program for the entire 2019-20 school year.

“We are committed to making it work for families,” Slagle said