ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Solon Springs School Board boosts pay for child care employees

Eagles' Nest Childcare Center currently serves 18 children and has a waiting list of 10.

523715+school-bus-top.jpg
We are part of The Trust Project.

SOLON SPRINGS — The Solon Springs school board voted Monday, March 21, to boost pay for employees at its school-run child care center in the wake of staff shortages and a growing waiting list of children.

A collaborative effort by the community, the center is housed in a former church.

Hourly wages will go up to $15 per hour for lead teachers, $12 per hour for assistants through June 2023.

Board members also approved giving child care director Alana Hill the authority to schedule staff for overtime hours as needed. The district will also develop a plan to provide free child care education for employees and consider a sliding bonus in the future.

The district launched Eagles' Nest Childcare Center, a collaborative effort with the nonprofit organization Solon Springs Forward, in January. The center currently has 18 children enrolled with 10 on a waiting list and a number of babies slated to attend in June. Hill said with only four staff members — two full-time, two part-time — they cannot take any of those children. She did not foresee being able to hire any more staff at the current rate of $10 per hour for assistants.

“There is a societal need for child care,” said board Clerk Ryan Smith, and it has grown over the past few years. “We’ve stepped into the void to take care of the problem at a precarious time. I think it’s important.”

ADVERTISEMENT

But, he asked, does the cost of child care threaten the core mission of the district, which is to provide K-12 education? The funding for Eagles' Nest does not come out of the general fund, he was told, and it brings many benefits to both the district and community.

“It’s an investment,” said Principal Holly Jones.

It keeps families in the district and draws new ones in, said District Administrator Frank Helquist, as does full day 5-year-old kindergarten and 4K programming.

“We’re setting the table to be attractive to customers,” Helquist said. “I see it as positioning ourselves.”

In other business, the district tweaked its COVID-19 protocol to no longer require temperature checks at the door. A greeter will still meet everyone as they enter, but they will not be taking the temperatures of students and visitors.

Noah's Ark Day Care has been providing child care in Superior for 25 years.
The Superior Housing Authority's eviction of long-time residents and child care providers doesn't sit well with families affected.
When a home-based child care provider in Allouez was force to close, Councilor Jenny Van Sickle got to work on addressing the issue with council support

Maria Lockwood covers news in Douglas County, Wisconsin, for the Superior Telegram.
What to read next
The Loved Never Forgotten memorial holds the names of 163 people. A picnic set for Aug. 20 will honor them.
Matt Izzard carried more than 62% of the vote Tuesday. As no Republicans are running for the office, the primary vote decided the outcome of the race.
Republican nominees elected by voters Tuesday will face uncontested Democratic challengers Nov. 8.
The new nonprofit helps people get the help they need with reassurance that their beloved pets will be in good hands.