Childcare options for Enfield students still pending
By Jennifer Holloway - Staff Writer
Enfield - posted Fri., Jul. 22, 2011
The closing of two Enfield elementary schools and the reorganization of the remaining seven has left many parents with tough decisions to make concerning their children’s childcare. Beginning this fall, children must attend school in their designated district, and no exceptions to the rule can be made, as they had in previous years.
Two organizations are in the process of trying to provide the needed before-school and after-school care - Educational Resources for Children and the YWCA, Hartford Region - but working through the necessary procedures with the town has been a slow process.
According to Town Manager Matthew Coppler, the schools were originally given consent to operate by the school board, until it was determined that this was an issue to be handled by the town. Coppler said the Council reviewed the facility use policies and found proposals for before-school and after-school care did not fit with the current short-term policies in place.
“These are long-term,” Coppler said. “There is an expectation of facilities, utilities, custodians. The Council said these are more akin to leases rather than short-term use policies.”
At the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting on Thursday, July 21, the YWCA was listed as having three items under public hearings - special use permit applications for each of the three schools in which they are seeking to operate.
Commission Chairman Charles Duren read a letter from Denise Dionizio, YWCA Hartford Region Child Care director, which stated the organization was withdrawing its applications. As Coppler mentioned in an interview the day before, both the YWCA and ERFC will need to have leases approved by the Town Council. Coppler said the Council will meet again on Aug. 1, but it could be September before a final decision is reached.
Duren and other members of the Commission expressed interest in holding a special meeting, if needed, to help speed up the process, citing concern for parents.
Currently, other than private daycare options, ERFC will operate in the schools where it presently provides after school programs: JFK Middle and Henry Barnard School. ERFC was also in Thomas Alcorn School, but because the school has closed, the organization will be allowed to operate in its partner school, Enfield Street School.