AAPS stays committed in establishing childcare for upcoming year

Ridhima L. Kodali, Managing Editor

ANN ARBOR PUBLIC SCHOOLS — Crisis admitted as Ann Arbor Public Schools (AAPS) announced that there would be no after school child care due to COVID-19, May of 2021. 

AAPS had offered five locations (Abbot,Carpenter, Lakewood,Mitchell and Pitssfield elementary) of “after-school programming” due to many parents’ frustrations and lack of access, though, many parents still expressed a plenitude of frustrations and a petition had even taken place.  

Many parents have even decided to leave the district due to there being no childcare. 

Prior to the pandemic, Washtenaw County was faced with a decline of childcare providers. In fact, between 2010-2017 there was a 28 percent decrease in all providers.

“We have to just acknowledge that this is a very tough industry at this time,” Jenna Bacolor said.

Ultimately there has been a huge decrease of 9,000 childcare positions from May of 2020, to Februrary of 2022. 

Now, for the upcoming 2022-2023 year, AAPS plans on reinstating before/after childcare for all elementary and K-8 schools. 

“It is our intention to keep this programming aligned with our other school programs,” Swift said. 

Through this past year only eight schools have had the opportunity for before/after care. 

“We absolutely agree that it’s not enough, until we have it re-established at every school,” Swift said. “We are proud in the Ann Arbor Public Schools have had for decades in commitment to offering quality before and after school care programming in all of our elementary and K-8 schools.  We absolutely believe and are committed in extending the day both through enrichment and AM and PM. 

Swift had expressed the efforts that the board of education during a board meeting that took place on March 23 throughout the past school year and their plans for the upcoming years emphaszing on the redesign of the before and after care program. 

During the 2021-2022 school year, amongst the five locations with Rec and Ed before/after care there were a total of 23 staff members on-site, with 11 of them working all 10 shifts for the week.

In the following years, AAPS remains to be “committed” on restablishing before/after childcare in all schools.
For fall of 2022, AAPS will offer three schedule options: full-time, AM only and PM only. In addition to that, there are new redesigned positions, higher pay scales will be maintained and extra recruitment efforts. 

When a new location has enough staff, before/after care registration will be available. 

“We had to take a step back before the pandemic,” Swift said. “We were trying tremendously impacted in stopping, but our commitment has never wavered to servicing our students and families with quality before and after school programming, that those programs will continue during 2022 and we are committed to them continuing them into the future.”