Smith Brothers Restaurants
HomeBlocksFront-GridSouth Pasadena School Board OKs Outsourcing of Child Care

South Pasadena School Board OKs Outsourcing of Child Care

By Eric Licas
The Review

The South Pasadena Unified School District’s Board of Education voted to outsource the management of a popular early-morning child care service to a third-party provider on March 12, despite concerns from parents of children enrolled in the program.
The extended day program offers structured supervision for children in transitional kindergarten through eighth grade, and was previously operated in-house by the district. It has experienced a high staff turnover rate in recent years, and efforts to hire and retain qualified caregivers to keep the early-morning child care service it provides “has had a negative impact on the program’s ability to serve families and financial stability,” according to reports from Superintendent Geoff Yantz.
On Tuesday, the district’s Board of Education unanimously voted to hand management and hiring duties for the program over to Right at School, an organization that operates child care services at schools throughout the country. Doing so should free up resources for the district while allowing the extended day program to continue without any reduction in services, Yantz said.
Amy Day Gitano said during public comments at Tuesday’s meeting that she has two children currently in the child care program. One is a seventh grader who was old enough to opt out of the program this year.
“But he chose to continue because he likes being there,” she said. “He feels like he can get his homework done when he gets there, and he really values the connections he’s made with Ms. Amy and Mr. Alex, and his friendships. I, too, really value the connections that my kids have made there, and I’m worried about the continuity of care.”
She was among several parents of children attending the extended day program who raised concerns over the shift to a third-party provider. Some decried what they described as a lack of transparency from the district in a decision that could impact students throughout the district.
Many expressed support for the extended day staff who have been watching over their children. They were afraid bringing in an outside organization to manage child care services would mean that new instructors might be brought in to replace the ones their children have already formed close bonds with.
Yantz pointed out that every affected employee who had been working in the extended day program will be given the opportunity to explore other employment options within the district.
He added that the change approved by the board should both save the district money and allow child care services to expand. That means the SPUSD should now have enough room to accommodate families who had been on the waiting list for child care.
Meanwhile, the cost of enrolling in early-morning care with Right at School should be similar to what parents in the extended day program currently pay. And regular day care and summer camp sessions that had also been operated by the district will continue to be managed by the SPUSD.
“We care about this program,” Board Trustee Patricia Miller said. “We care about the services that are offered to our kids. We care about this being a quality service. We care about continuity in the folks working with our students.”
She added, “It’s more like a partnership than just outsourcing the whole thing.”
David Moore said his children are in the third and fifth grade at Marengo Elementary, and have been on the waiting list for the extended day program for four and six years, respectively. He came out in support of the change approved by the Board, and said family has relied on outside providers for child care that charge more than the district and have to shuttle his children to an off-campus site.
“Contracting out the service will allow us to benefit from the hiring pipeline that this provider, Right at School, has already established. … Overall, this change looks like a huge win for families and the district.”

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article inaccurately called the child care program “Right At Home.” The name of the program is “Right At School.”

NOTE: We are having technical problems getting photos online and apologize for them not being posted immediately.

First published in the March 15 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

Most Popular

[bsa_pro_ad_space id=3]