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Kaukauna Area School District considers model to help families with child care

Posted at 6:19 PM, Mar 13, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-13 19:19:53-04

KAUKAUNA (NBC 26) — There's a long list of Wisconsin school district with school-sponsored childcare centers. The Kaukauna Area School District is now considering a district childcare option to help families in their area.

  • KASD has made childcare part of their facilities plan, after consulting their neighbors.
  • They're still considering their options and what it would look like for the district but have received support from families.
  • Shiocton has had a childcare center since 2018 and their district administrator explained why they’ve had success.

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story)

Finding childcare is a burden for many parents. I’m your Appleton neighborhood reporter Olivia Acree looking at how the Kaukauna Area School District is trying to ease that burden.

With childcare top of mind for many families, the Kaukauna Area School District is making it top of mind too.

“It seems like, right now, everywhere you turn people are talking about the childcare crisis,” said Mike Slowinski, Kaukauna Area School District Superintendent.

That’s superintendent Mike Slowinski.

“This is a real need in our community,” said Slowinski.

After conversations between the district and neighbors, KASD has made childcare part of their facilities plan.

“There was a significant need for additional childcare but also an interest in that idea of the school's level of involvement within that,” said Slowinski.

They currently offer before and after school care but are exploring options like a district childcare center. They’ve looked to the Shiocton School District for ideas.

“In Shiocton, we are saying that public education really is now birth or six weeks of age through grade 12,” said Nichole Schweitzer, Shiocton District Administrator.

District administrator Nichole Schweitzer told me they started their center in 2018 with just 18 kids.

“Here we are now almost 6 years later we have 99 enrolled,” said Schweitzer.

They started it to help retain students, attract out of district enrollment, and retain staff. A goal shared by Kaukauna.

“We hire a lot of young educators who are just starting off with their families and childcare is a major issue for them too,” said Slowinski.

The Wisconsin Early Childhood Association says more than one third of kids in Wisconsin don't have access to the care they need. Both school districts agree there’s no one size fits all solution.

KASD conducted a community survey where 96% of respondents said they would consider enrolling their child in a district-provided childcare option. So, they say they're now considering their options.

“Working with our community to say what is the best fit for Kaukauna,” said Slowinski.

Slowinski says KASD is taking family's priorities into consideration as they come up with a plan for future childcare in the district. They hope to share that plan by the end of the school year.