The Holland School Board has approved a contract with a local child care center that changes the way funding will be allocated during the upcoming school year.
Under the agreement, Color Your World Child Care center – where the district outsources one of its universal two prekindergarten programs – receives a minimum of $35,000, then a per-student allocation that cannot exceed a total of $42,209, or half of the annual allocation from the federal government.
Previously, the district has evenly divided the $84,418 in pre-K funding received from the federal government, with half going to the inhouse program at the district’s elementary school and the other to Color Your World, on Route 16.
This formula was employed regardless of the number of students attending each program.
Interim Superintendent Sylvia Root said the new contract offers a fair deal for both sides and headed off a possible debate.
“This is a nice compromise. We’re not interested in taking kids from Color Your World. Some parents like sending their kids there for convenience because their younger kids are in day care. Others like the elementary school because their older kids are in school there,” Root said.
The district will redo the allocation in January based on the number of students housed in each pre-K program at that time.
Recently, board members called for a more equitable division of funding, especially when the district accommodates the majority of pre-K students.
Some suggested that funding to Color Your World should be adjusted based on a monthly head count.
Sandy Hoffman, owner of Color Your World, spoke out recently against that proposal, noting that she pays a teacher a fixed salary, regardless of how many students are enrolled at the child care center.
Root said the district would not guarantee placement in either program but will ask parents if they have a preference. For parents without a preference, students names will be placed in a lottery.
To date, 32 students have been signed up for next fall’s pre-K offering. Each program is capped at 18.