GUILFORD — An extended school program for SAD 4 children in grades one through four will be offered starting next month if the school board adopts the proposal Tuesday evening. It will be the first such offering among schools in the Penquis region.
Superintendent Norman Higgins said the district now has the appropriate licenses to operate the after-school program, which will include games, refreshments, crafts, activities and possibly field trips. The program will be offered after school until 6:30 p.m. at the Guilford Primary School.
“This is not a baby-sitting service,” said Higgins. “We really want to stress that it’s a variety of activities, but at the same time it is not an extension of the school day. It’s not a remedial academic program.”
Higgins said parents will pay a competitive fee for the program, much like they do for day care. Scholarships will be available for those who may need some financial assistance. He said this will not be a taxpayer-supported program, but rather a self-supporting one with the use of participation fees and federal funds.
He said the district will allocate $4,000 in federal funds to operate the program for the remainder of the school year, if directors approve the venture.
Higgins said the district will accommodate children who may have some transportation needs. Parents will be required to pick up their children at the close of the program.
“We expect that we’ll start with small numbers and that the program will grow over a period of time,” Higgins said. He expects that 10 pupils will start the program next month.
The need for such a program has surfaced many times over the years, according to Higgins. A survey conducted about 18 months ago indicated substantial interest.
In addition, a number of individuals and school board members have expressed an interest in starting after-school programs for young children.
“We have the facilities, and it seemed like a logical type of program for us to be able to provide to working parents in the community,” Higgins said. He hoped that the program could be expanded into a daylong program during school vacations and the summer.
Advertisements already have been placed for an individual to operate the program. Higgins said someone with strong child development experience will be hired for the job.