By MIKE COURSON
Great Bend Post
Hoisington's search for more daycare options continues. At the Aug. 1 board of education meeting, USD 431 Superintendent Patrick Crowdis and Roosevelt Elementary Principal Shellby Walker provided the board with updates.
Walker has spoken to many in the daycare field over the past two months, including Trisha Greene out of the Edwards County Extension Office in Kinsley, who informed Walker about the differences between daycare centers and group home daycares.
"I'm going to just put out there that Mr. Crowdis' and I's vision is really a daycare center," Walker told the board. "You can service more children. When you do a group home, you're looking at potentially 12 kids, that's it. When you do a center, you're looking upwards of 50."
Laura Evins, who oversees two daycare centers in Lyon County, will send a starter handbook to the district, and Kori Hammeke, who handles daycare licensing in the county, has also supplied the district with information.
"What's been wonderful is anybody we've talked to has been extremely excited for us, just for the fact that we're researching and looking into this," Walker said. "They've all been very supportive."
Crowdis has also talked with Great Bend Economic Development Director Sara Hayden about the proposed daycare facility in Great Bend. Being a satellite building to the Great Bend facility would have pros and cons. The district might lose some control but would get assistance with hiring.
"It's appealing in terms of they would be the ones responsible for hiring all the people," Crowdis said. "I'll be honest with you, and Shellby and I have talked about it, hiring people is going to be an issue. We can build a beautiful building, but if we can't staff it then we can't have any kids."
Walker also discussed a home daycare in Plainville. That 12-child facility received a grant that would not be available in Barton County. The daycare took only months to get rolling, but it serves considerably less than a daycare center.
Crowdis met with area daycare providers to discuss concerns, including wages for any new daycare providers and a loss of potential customers.
"At the end of the meeting, I think everyone was on the same page as we continue and put together a committee to work through this process and this journey," he said. "Several of them agreed to be a part of that and help us through that journey as well."
Crowdis told the board he plans to revisit the issue in October, hoping for a more solidified plan by December.