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Dellwood Childcare raises rates

Dellwood Early Learning Center File Photo

District staff receive 10% discount

By Bert Lehman

The rates for children enrolled at Dellwood Childcare Center will increase in 2024, but employees of the Clintonville School District will receive a 10% discount.

The Clintonville School Board approved the increased rates and discount for district employees by a 4-3 vote at its Nov. 13 meeting.

Board members Chad Dobbe, Glen Drew Lundt and Jason Moder voted against the motion.

Superintendent Troy Kuhn told the board that the district’s Dellwood Childcare Committee recently met to compare the services and rates of area daycare centers to determine where the Dellwood Childcare rates matched up, and if the rates should be adjusted. The committee also considered a childcare discount for district employees.

Kuhn said not all daycares care for infants, but that Dellwood Childcare provides care for infants, which Kuhn said the community is happy about.
“Infants is not a moneymaker,” Kuhn said, “just because of the teacher ratios.”

He said Dellwood Childcare does not charge a registration fee, annual fee or waiting list fee, while some daycares charge some or all of those fees.
He said the committee recommended that the fee to care for an infant full-time be increased from $170 to $200 per week, the fee for toddlers be increased from $160 to $180 per week, and the fee for full-time preschoolers be increased from $150 to $170 per week. Other rates for each category would also need to be adjusted accordingly.

In addition, the committee recommended that school district employees who have children enrolled in Dellwood Childcare, receive 10% off their total bill.

Employee discount questioned

Board member Jason Moser questioned the recommended discount to district employees since Dellwood Childcare is a taxpayer-funded daycare.
“There’s a large expenditure that the taxpayers pay per pupil in this daycare,” Moser said. “So, this daycare is not fully funded by the revenues that it’s bringing in.”

Moser also said he would like to see non-residents of the Clintonville School District pay an increased rate to have children enrolled at Dellwood Childcare.

“So, the taxpayers of this district are not picking up the bill for somebody that is not a taxpayer here,” Moser said.

Board member Kris Strauman asked how many non-district residents who are also not employees in the district have children enrolled at Dellwood Childcare.

It was stated that approximately four families, and a total of around six children meet that criteria. But those families have children open enrolled in Clintonville School District.

Board member Laurie Vollrath said it should be noted that the district is increasing its enrollment by having Dellwood Childcare.

“Those kids are enrolling into the Clintonville School District and we’re getting the per pupil aid for those kids,” Vollrath said.

Moser responded, “When you can show me the guarantee of anybody that enrolls their kid in this daycare, is going to open enroll into this district, I’m all with you. But there’s no guarantee saying that’s going to happen.”

Taxpayer funded

Board member Chad Dobbe said, “At the end of the day, we have a taxpayer-funded service, and we’re not able to service all the taxpayers with it. And I think that’s a bigger issue than bringing in enrollment.”

He added that since there is a waiting list to be enrolled at Dellwood Childcare, the children from non-district residents who are enrolled in Dellwood Childcare are taking enrollment spots away from district taxpaying parents.

“And that’s a big deal,” Dobbe said.

Board member Glen Drew Lundt asked if the proposed rate increases would get Dellwood Childcare to the point of breaking even financially.
Kuhn said “Not even close.”

Lundt asked how the proposed rates were determined if they don’t get the daycare close to breaking even financially.

Kuhn said the proposed rates were determined by comparing them to other daycare centers.

He added that the Clintonville Rec Center doesn’t break even financially, either.

“I guess from a business side, I just would question anything that doesn’t at least pay for itself,” Lundt said.

Vollrath said Clintonville Rec Center should also be questioned then.

Kuhn said for Dellwood Childcare to break even, it would probably have to charge $300 or more per child per week.

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