Parents of very young children may be happy to learn that there will soon be an early morning daycare program run by the YMCA at Sandown Central. The aim is to open the program within a week or so, according to the program’s director who spoke to the school board on November 5th.
The program will run five days a week from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. The tuition is $60 for all five mornings. Dr. Metzler indicated that there are plans in the works for an after-school program as well.
Now this may seem like an unmitigated good but I have a number of concerns about this development:
- It was never mentioned to the school board before it was just two weeks away from deployment
- It was never voted on or approved by the school board
- The program does not pay any fees to the district – not rent, not janitorial costs, not wear and tear, nothing.
This means that the taxpayers of our district are collectively subsidizing the childcare costs of the families that are using this service. The YMCA program is also competing against private child care companies in Sandown and across the district.
If you were a business owner, would you appreciate tax money being used to compete against your business?
As a taxpayer, do you think it is fair that you are paying to educate the district’s children and also subsidizing their before school care?
I’ve said it before: the notion of mixing business with public schools is a bad one. The two have been separated by a Chinese wall for a long time and for good reason. Businesses, whether they are for profit or non-profit, have no business using public facilities for free. Our “Business Partnership Program” gives the opportunity to businesses that partner with us in some way to use school facilities. This is using public property to benefit private interests and is unfair to taxpayers and unfair to other businesses who may not want to pay money to the school district to simply stay competitive.
No one on the school board besides myself questioned this arrangement, and no one protested that it was done without the knowledge, approval and vote of the school board.