With the spring semester winding down, Kearny public school officials are hoping that local kids will feel “Right At School” when classes resume in September.
What better way to do that, they reason, than by offering busy parents a chance to drop off their kids early and/or pick them up later at any of the town’s five elementary schools.
The Kearny Board of Education is making this opportunity possible by having voted recently to contract for the service with a vendor known as Right At School, based in Evanston, Ill.
Parents can opt to enroll their pre-K to grade 6 youngsters in the morning session, which runs from 7 to 8:45 a.m., or the afternoon slot, from 3:05 to 6 p.m., Monday to Friday, at the district’s elementary schools.
A posting on the district website promoting the program says: “We’re here for parents looking for a safe, comfortable and fun place for their children before and after school. Led by our nurturing educators, your children will complete their homework, engage in fun fitness, participate in our enrichment curriculum (with unit themes like ‘Inventors’ Workshop,’ ‘Water Wizards’ and ‘Twisted Tales’) and become part of a community that feels like family.”
After-school enrichment classes are slated to begin by January or February 2018.
Ken Lindenfelser, counsel to the KBOE, said, “The district is providing the space and the program is supplying materials, personnel, background checks and insurance.”
Parents who choose to send their kids will be assessed fees for the service by the vendor and the district will pocket 8% of the gross revenues collected by the vendor to offset district costs for custodial overtime and energy, according to Lindenfelser.
“We have no monetary projection at this point,” he said, “but this is not expected to be a money-maker for the district.”
One reason the school board elected to make this service available, Lindenfelser said, is that parents responding to a district questionnaire asking what factors led them to switch their children to the new Kearny-based Hudson Arts & Science Charter School were asked if after-care, in particular, was a factor and “there were some indications that yes, it was, and that played into the board’s decision.”
Based on its reputation, “we were looking to bring this company in last year,” Schools Superintendent Patricia Blood said. But just to be thorough, the board directed its professional staff to solicit bids “and we had six firms submit RFPs (Request For Proposals),” she added.
Additionally, Blood said, several board members checked out a Right At School program conducted at a school district in New Rochelle, N.Y., which was “similar in diversity and size” to that of Kearny and were impressed by what they saw.
“We had great interest among our parents in this type of program, particularly those with children at Roosevelt and Franklin schools,” Blood said. “So now, we’re very excited to have [Right At School] as our partner.”
The program also operates out of the Hazlet public school system and at least three other local districts in New Jersey are in the process of contracting with the company, according to Blood.
Based on a fee schedule posted on the district website, parents will be asked to choose from among several options for the before-school and/or after-school programs.
Fees for the after-school program range from $86 per month for one day per week to $300 per month for five days a week. Prices for the before-school program range from $42 for one day per week to $140 per month for five days per week.
There is a $50 annual, per-family registration fee, with a 5% sibling discount available.
To register, parents may contact rightatschool.com or call 855-287-2466.