Aiken County parents could see boost in after-school care price

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Wednesday, May 15, 2019

AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) A change with Aiken County Schools afterschool provider could mean a boost in the price for afterschool care.

The price increase comes after the Aiken County School District put out a request for one county-wide afterschool provider.

Currently, the YMCA Primetime runs the extended-care program out of 10 Aiken County Schools and the Sunshine House: Questzone operated extended-care programs in 15 Aiken County schools.

During the RFP process, seven anonymous evaluators made up of principals and district officials, graded the programs on price, quality of service and capability to ...

The Sunshine House was selected to take over the extended-care program for all schools.

The CEO of the YMCA told News 12 NBC 26 he fears some parents will not be able to afford the program.

The Aiken County School District sent us a letter detailing the prices for after-school care during the 2019-2020 school year under Sunshine House: Questzone.

The full price at Sunshine House will be $54 every week, which is $4 a week more than the YMCA's current full price.

The cost available to those that qualify for free and reduced lunch is $44, which is $9 dollars more a week than YMCA Primetime's free and reduced lunch prices.

"The program has given us a number of scholarships that students can share and/or assign to students who have that need," said Aiken County Superintedent Dr. Sean Alford.

According to a document provided by the YMCA, 35 students had scholarships that covered 40-100% percent of tuition costs across the 10 schools they operated in during the month of April 2019.

""We have never capped out scholarships. We just try to meet whatever the need is," said YMCA CEO Danny McConnell. "If there is a family that has come in and all the scholarship money has been passed out. You just wonder what is going to happen to that family."

The Sunshine House and Aiken County Public School District says they 32 official scholarship slots for the 32 schools they will operate in during the 2019-2020 school year.

In a statement the Sunshine House Company Spokesperson, Barbra Anderson-Richardson wrote:

"After discussions with Aiken County Public School District, The Quest Zone Afterschool Program included 32 official scholarship slots for the 2019-2020 school year. These official scholarships do not cap or limit our ability to work with additional families. Full and/or partial scholarships are always reviewed on a case-by-case basis in the conference with the school Principal."

The Aiken County School Superintendent says the prices between the two programs are comparable.

Dr. Alford also adds degree of capability of performing the district's specifications and experience and expertise in provided services counted for more during the selection process.

"We feel at this point. The winning vendor has put forth a proposal that addresses very well all of those things," said Superintendent Dr. Alford.

The Sunshine House proposal offers several programs, such as IXL computer-assisted instruction, Seeds of Literacy, Dreammaker by Crayola Art, NFL Play 60 and Playworks, Coding and Homework, Keva Planks, STEM 2 Story, Design Squad, Junior Achievement and 4H (STEAM enrichment.)

The Aiken YMCA PrimeTime proposal also offers programs, such as computer-assisted instruction at program, program based learning the physical activity, homework assistance, study time, individual and group reading. The YMCA also offered the Safety Around Water(SAW) program and an incentive program offering free swim lessons and a free Family YMCA membership.