DeKalb church offering Friday child care to accommodate 4-day school week

DeKalb ISD Superintendent Dr. Chris Galloway speaks during a public hearing on a four-day school week Monday, March 21, 2022, as board members observe a slide presentation. (Staff photo by Andrew Bell)

DeKALB, Texas -- The First United Methodist Church of DeKalb recently announced that it is launching a new ministry in order to offer a low-cost, Friday morning child care program to complement the DeKalb Independent School District's new four-day school week schedule.

The church is working with DeKalb ISD to rent space on-campus to reduce the need for student transportation, as well as create a partnership with the school to support students and their families.

Per the district, the on-site child care would be from 7:30 a.m. to noon. The remainder of the day the children would attend the school's after-school ACE program until 3 p.m.

The program will be offered for PreK to eighth-grade students who are enrolled in DeKalb ISD.

"This will be a nonprofit service with minimal cost to our parents. However, we will not know the cost to families until we know the number of kids," Superintendent Dr. Chris Galloway said. "The program's not meant to make a profit. We just want enough funds to cover the facilities fees and compensation for the staff. If there are any overages or profits, it goes right back into the program."

Working with the school to survey parents, the church reported that it has identified about 15 families who are interested in a faith-based morning childcare program for their elementary and middle school aged students. Galloway said he has 17 families with 24 total students who have filled out a form saying they would be interested in low-cost child care on Fridays.

"We have been praying for a way to meet a need in our community," the Rev. Amanda Stratton said. "It is our hope that this program will alleviate the concern for consistent Friday morning childcare at a low cost to families."

The church plans to hire a director and instructors, as well as offer trained volunteer positions.

Galloway said the district and church are going to meet this next week to discuss posting positions and the interviewing/hiring process. They also likely will discuss possible costs.

"We do think it's gonna be pretty low-cost," he said. "I just hesitate to give an estimate when we're not exactly sure yet."

The Gazette made multiple attempts to reach out to New Boston ISD, who is also implementing a four-day school week next year, to inquire about any child care options on their end. No responses were received.