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Whitefish Bay School District Ends Partnership with Milestones

The Whitefish Bay School District expects to generate as much as $225,000 in annual revenue by ending its 33-year partnership with Milestones Programs for Children.

Starting next school year, Whitefish Bay School District will do away with its 33-year partnership with Milestones Programs for Children and offer its own before- and after-school programming.d

Milestones, a nonprofit daycare provider, currently leases space at Cumberland and Richards elementary schools, where it provides before-and after-school programs to young children. Last week, the school district notified Milestones it would not be renewing its annual lease, and would offer its own before- and after-school programs.

The district sent out information about the change to parents last week, and additional information is expected to be shared later this week. Similar to Milestones, the district will start providing child care at 7 a.m. and end at 6 p.m. The school district will also provide activities during winter break, spring break and other non-school days. 

By making before- and after-school programs an in-house operation, the district states it will be able to offer students with homework assistance, a link between school-day and after-school personnel, a district evaluation of the program's effectiveness, a more effective use of school space, and other school-community partnerships.

Whitefish Bay Superintendent Mary Gavigan said the expansion into before- and after-school care is consistent with the community education mission of the Recreation Department.

"The Recreation Department has already expanded by offering preschool, and this is another step in that direction," Gavigan said. "It's a decision the district believes has added educational benefits and linkages for families, and we believe it will be provided seamlessly to families that wish to participate."

Carin Kelland, director of the Recreation Department, said the department currently provides programs for late-start school days, as well as camps and enrichment programs in the summer months.

"We look at this new venture as an extension of what we do and a value add to the services we currently offer," Kelland said.

Providing this service through the Recreation Department will bring in an additional $225,000 in annual revenue, based on the district's current enrollment projections.

At the same time, the district would lose roughly $1,500 in monthly rent from Milestones and would have to hire seven additional employees: a lead teacher for both Cumberland and Richards, an assistant at each school, a wrap-around K4 teacher and an administrative assistant.

Gavigan said the projected revenues will outweight the additional staffing costs. In fact, Gavigan anticipates offering the programs at a slightly reduced rate than previously offered by Milestones. 

The district plans to offer the same programs as Milestones, including the fourth-grade kindergarten wraparound program, which offers daylong child care before or after a half-day junior kindergarten class. Unlike Milestones, which transports Cumberland students to Holy Family School for wraparound care, the district will be able to keep the students at the school throughout the full day.

"We are confident that we will be able to serve all the families that are interested," Kelland said. "We have no concerns about space."

David Montemurri, Milestones' executive director, said it came as a surprise to the organization to see its annual lease not renewed after 33 years in Whitefish Bay schools.

Montemurri said the organization will continue to be a part of the Whitefish Bay community by offering before- and after-school programs at Holy Family School and Santa Monica School and offering early childhood programs at Lydell Community Center for children younger than four years old. The organization will continue to offer programs at Atwater, Lake Bluff, St. Roberts, Indian Hills and Parkway elementary schools.

"We're going to do everything we can to continue to serve as many people as possible," Montemurri said. 

EmpthyCursed January 30, 2013 at 03:57 PM
I went to milestones and worked for milestones. I taught at cumberland and richards with wonderful mentors from milestones. They made me who I am today and its sad they are not going to be able to be in those schools anymore. I wish the best of luck to David and his crew.
LJL February 04, 2013 at 07:43 PM
I'm dismayed to see this development in WFB, and do hope that Shorewood will not make a similar decision. Our child attended Milestones for many years. They provide care that is grounded in best practices in early childhoood education, hire amazing staff who are committed to child care as a career, and are NAEYC accredited (not an easy achievement). I don't know how WFB is planning to staff their programming, but mountains of research indicate that it's essential that children receive more than babysitting. Unfortunately, my experience with Rec department care is that it involves limited recognition that child care is very different than recreation. While recreation programming is important in a community - and done very well by our Rec departments - it should not be mistaken for early childhood care and education. I do hope that Milestones continues to be a strong resource for our communities, and that WFB fully embraces the child care field's best practices as they assume this new role.

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