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Palisades and YMCA partner for child care

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In a further response to concerns raised by activist parents during the last school year, the Palisades School District has begun an active partnership with YMCA of Bucks County, to provide before-and-after-school child care services for district families.

In addition to its own merit, the new program can be seen as adding appeal to the district for attracting new families. The activist parents had urged more effort in that regard, as a response to declining enrollment, and as a preferred alternative to closing one or more school buildings. That consideration was deliberated for two years, before being tabled last spring.

The program, which began in August as K through 5, and is now K through 6, was presented by YMCA representatives at the Sept. 18 public school board meeting. Thirty-eight children are already enrolled, including 22 in Springfield, 9 in Tinicum, and 7 in Durham, accounting for substantial representation in each of the district’s three elementary schools.

In a press release, the YMCA notes the program features “a focus on safety, health, social growth and academic enhancement … from 7:15 a.m. to the start of school and from dismissal to 6 p.m., with options for families who prefer to pick up their child by 5 p.m. The Y will also provide School’s Out Care, an optional program that provides care on days off from school, including holiday breaks and faculty in-service days.”

Particulars include offering “learning centers and homework help, physical activities, group projects, games, breakfast and afternoon snack. All participants in the program also receive a free youth membership to the Quakertown branch of the Y, welcoming students to participate in year-round sports, fitness, swimming and arts programs.”

Donna Holmes, Palisades’ director of community relations and development, noted that the YMCA’s “support of our families, by extending the option to use quality services they may need, at a reasonable price, is very helpful to everyone.”

Registration is open via the Y’s Carlie Bearn, director of youth education, at 215-536-9622 x112, cbearn@ymcabucks.org, or by visiting ymcabucks.org/sacc-palisades.

Also at the Sept. 18 school board meeting, during his Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA) liaison report, board President Bob Musantry said he “sees no problem” with Gov. Tom Wolf’s Charter School Reform Plan, and “wants to see how it goes through the (legislative) machine.”

The plan features “limiting enrollment at underperforming charters; preventing charters from overcharging school districts and taxpayers; holding charters to the same transparency standards as public schools; and making charters pay for their administrative costs instead of taxpayers.”

In addition, the board approved an increase in the tax benefit, from $500 to $600, for qualifying senior citizen participants in the district’s PEARL volunteer program. Further information is available from Holmes at 610-847-5131, ext. 2401, or dholmes@palisadessd.org.

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