Is It Worth It?

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Menomonie's school daycare program had a history of about a dozen years in the district before the board suspended it a few years back.

More teenage parents started enrolling in the district, that's why they brought the program back last year.

Now there are only three who would be eligible, but school leaders say having their kids around would also help dozens of Family and Consumer Science students learn.

"Teen parents suffer a greater hardship than other students and that's why we're willing to take another step to help them," said Menomonie's District Administrator, Jesse Harness.

On Monday, board members will talk about whether their budget can keep supporting the program, and how to support it without dipping into taxpayers' wallets.

There is $47,000 allocated for it in the budget this year, but some staffing adjustments have been worked out to lessen the cost.

"We now believe we can offer the program at 10 to 20 thousand dollars less than that."

Administrators say the program's future in a room that was remodeled in 2000 could be all that keeps some of those teenaged parents from dropping out too.

"It isn't as though the space couldn't be used some other way," said Vicki Andersen, a parent who lives in the district.

That's what opponents are hoping for, since they say the school's focus should be on the students, and not on the daycare business.

"We feel there are other avenues for childcare for these children."

"Dunn County has some fabulous programs."

While opponents worry about higher taxes, administrators say it would only amount to pennies per property owner.
The night could end with a conditional approval to, meaning the program only survives if a specific number of eligible students are enrolled in the district.