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White Co BOE Office To House Two Child Care Services

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
White Co BOE Office To House Two Child Care Services

The White County School Board has approved two lease agreements to house a pair of child care services at the Board of Education Office.

EduCare Early Learning Center and Sparta YMCA will run the operations. Director of Schools Kurt Dronebarger said the office has unused space to offer the service to the community.

“I have gone out and talked to a couple of daycares to find out the need to make sure we weren’t going to step on the toes of our daycares here in town,” Dronebarger said. “I wouldn’t want to do anything that would adversely affect some of our local businesses. I was assured by both of those places that White County is considered a daycare desert in some regards. That there is not enough spaces for students.”

Dronebarger said EduCare wants to give preference to school faculty to start filling 68 spots. According to the lease agreement, the Sparta YMCA will be after-school for 30 children.

“I feel like this is something that is needed,” Dronebarger said. “We have a good opportunity to provide high quality daycare. This is going to be a learning environment, not just babysitting. This is going to be high quality teaching going on.”

Dronebarger said the daycares will start with an annual lease to run during the school year. Dronebarger said the financial specifics and terms are still to be discussed.

“We’re trying to figure out what the average utilities cost,” Dronebarger said. ‘That’s basically what the amount of rent would be, because we are trying to provide a service and not overcharge.”

Dronebarger said the EduCare opportunity came from Kelli Swindell, who works with Tennessee Tech on child development. Dronebarger said Swindell is working with the university fund the project with grants.

Dronebarger said Sparta YMCA already used the Board of Education office for emergency essential worker child care during the pandemic, so the school wanted to continue that.

School Board Member DeWayne Howard during the Tuesday Board meeting asked questions about facility use and liability of keeping children at the School Board Office.

Dronebarger said the children in care would be separated from other students that use the playground and other facilities. Dronebarger said both entities also have its own insurance.


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