VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Officials from Virginia Beach Parks and Recreation say nine before and afterschool childcare programs in the city previously listed to close at the beginning of the year have now been saved.
Virginia Beach city officials made the announcement Tuesday.
The OST programs being saved are listed below:
- Creeds Elementary — after school
- North Landing Elementary — after school
- Kempsville Elementary — after school
- Fairfield Elementary — after school
- Linkhorn Park Elementary — after school
- Pembroke Meadows elementary — after school
- Three Oaks Elementary — before school
- White Oak Elementary — before school
- Landstown Elementary — before school
In early November, officials initially announced 14 of their city-run before and after school programs would be canceled due to a severe staffing shortage. The move was set to impact more than 300 attendees across the city.
Days after the announcement, Virginia Beach offered pay increases for child care staff to try to attract new and qualified employees.
Julie Braley, a spokeswoman for Virginia Beach Parks and Recreation, credits saving the programs to the influx of qualified applicants. Braley said applications came flooding in after pay increases were put in place for the childcare positions.
“We went from receiving anywhere from 10 applications every couple of weeks to about 120 applications in a few days,” said Braley.
The child care programs in Virginia Beach needed to add about 50 new staff members to be able to return to normal staffing levels and reopen the programs that were listed to be closed or consolidated. Those programs were chosen based on the number of participants.
Parks and Recreation said pay for all child care team members will range from $15 to $18.50.
Pay previously ranged from $9.50 to $14.89. The city did not specify how it funds the pay increases.
The city manager approved the increase. It went into effect Nov. 25.
The increases were for three part-time positions. Aids went from making $9.50 per hour to $15. Assistant leaders went from making $13 an hour to $17. Leader positions now make $18 an hour.
Braley said they’ve hired and are in the process of onboarding 30 new hires.
“We know the value and the importance of these services that we provide the families,” said Braley. “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.”
She also said she’s cautiously optimistic, if the positive trend continues, they will possibly be able to save the remaining five programs currently on the chopping block — although it’s too soon to know for sure.
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Resources to find alternative childcare providers: