VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — All 14 of the Virginia Beach before- and after-school childcare programs that were recently slated to close due to staffing issues will remain open after pay increases led to hundreds of applications.
Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation shared the great news on Wednesday morning, after announcing last month they were bracing for a “worst-case scenario.”
“We are very grateful to City leadership for recognizing the urgency of this situation and approving the pay increase that ultimately allowed us to hire enough staff to save these critical programs,” said VB Parks & Recreation Director Michael Kirschman. “Providing this good news to the families who were impacted is the best holiday present we could have asked for, and we are thankful to the people who have applied and come on board to join the team.”
Closures of the programs would have impacted more than 300 attendees, the city says. 19 program locations that were consolidated and moved to nearby schools will remain at those locations as staffing continues to improve, with the goal of returning them to their home schools as soon as possible. That could last through the end of the current school year.
The key to saving the programs? Paying people more, city officials say.
Pay went from $9.50-$14.89 to $15-$18.50, resulting in hundreds of applicants. City Manager Patrick Duhaney approved the increases.
“We went from receiving anywhere from 10 applications every couple of weeks to about 120 applications in a few days,” Julie Braley, a spokeswoman for Virginia Beach Parks and Recreation, told WAVY last week after announcing that nine of the 14 programs had been saved. “We know the value and the importance of these services that we provide the families. We take it very seriously as a responsibility and we strive to deliver the most high quality, fun and rewarding program for our participants because they deserve it and we want to be able to have the right staff in place to be able to deliver that.”
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