OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – One Oklahoma senator hopes to provide the state’s educators with school district daycares, giving them one less thing to worry about while they teach and care for others’ children.
“It would just be a very, very big draw for teachers, a big help to them,” said Senator David Bullard, R-Durant.
Sen. Bullard is a veteran teacher of 15 years.
He says child care services are expensive and difficult to handle for anyone, but especially teachers.
“If someone could have their childcare done and taken care of by the school, then I think that we can close a lot of barriers to teachers getting into the field or staying in the field,” said Bullard.
Bullard says the pilot program is to find out what works for the long-run.
“I want to make sure that superintendents and school districts are going to take advantage of it, because sometimes we offer benefits on different things that that that they don’t take advantage of,” Bullard said.
The bill says each district would get to apply for grants, then the state would approve the grants equally to districts of all sizes.
One example of a district-run daycare is in Oklahoma City.
“For a little over two decades, actually, we’ve been providing child care,” said Dr. Stephanie Hinton, Director of Early Childhood at Oklahoma City Public Schools.
Oklahoma City Public Schools has offered child care services mostly for teenage parents. Now, they offer the service for district employees.
Officials say it isn’t free but it is at a discount.
“They’re not paying over spring break. They’re not paying over fall break,” said Dr. Hinton. “So it ends up saving thousands of dollars over the course of a year for our teachers.”
For OKCPS Communications Director Crystal Raymond, she says the program brings her peace of mind because she trusts district employees.
“I have this little guy here. My older son is in the three year old class, and he has some medical needs and I know he’s in the best hands possible. I know that Dr. Hinton and her staff, they love my kids like their own, and they have that educator heart,” said Raymond.
Sen. Bullard says the program will be paid for through Oklahoma State Department of Education grants, not by state revenue.