HAYWARD — With no new information on whether state funds for low-cost child care will be coming down the pike, today will be the last day that parents will be able to drop off their kids for full-day programs at Hayward schools.
According to district officials, without a guarantee of such funding, they cannot support programs based out of the Helen Turner Children's Center or satellite facilities. That includes the extended child care program at the Helen Turner campus; the school-age extended day care programs at Palma Ceia, Glassbrook, Eldridge and Longwood elementary schools that serve children in kindergarten through second grades; and the infant or toddler home day care program.
The programs have been suspended for the time being, barring a reprieve from the state.
"If the state does decide to continue to fund the generalized child care programs, we will reinstate programs once the final budget has been approved," Superintendent Janis Duran said in a statement.
Funding is expected to be available for the current preschool programs at Bowman, Burbank, Cherryland, Muir, Palma Ceia and Shepherd elementary schools, which are half-day programs available during the school year. They will resume Aug. 23, and additional room will be made available at Helen Turner.
"We'll be enrolling kids all summer," said Helen Turner Director Becky Schultz.
In addition, school-age children can enroll in the district's Youth Enrichment Program, which is funded by a grant that is not affected by the possible state cut.
According to Chien Wu Fernandez, the Hayward district's director of student and family services, of the 264 kids at Helen Turner, 108 will be going into kindergarten next year and 95 will be able to transition into the half-day program. About two dozen are left with nowhere to go.
There are 34 kids enrolled in the infant or toddler home day care, and 132 in school-age programs based out of elementary schools, Fernandez said.
There are no provisions for the 3-year-olds who are too young for preschool but would have been eligible for the day care program.
"That's part of the blow — there's nothing for the little guys," Fernandez said.
In May, the school board voted to issue pink slips to employees in 48 full-time-equivalent positions involved in the affected programs in preparation for the possibility of cuts. Schultz said staff is on a recall list, and jobs will be reinstated if they get word from the state that the funding will be available.
For more information regarding eligibility and procedures for applying to the state preschool program, call 510-723-3880.