Categorized | Education, Government, News

Mayor Kenoi announces program to help families on furlough days


Mayor Billy Kenoi today announced the County is developing a new service modeled on the popular Summer Fun program to provide supervised activities for school-age children during the 17 days that public schools will be closed because of teacher furloughs.

“We understand the teacher furloughs triggered by the state’s budget problems present a severe hardship for working parents, and our Parks & Recreation staff has been at work all week developing a child care alternative,” Mayor Kenoi said. “We will provide parents with safe places where they can leave their children during the work day, and parents will know their kids will be engaged in fun, supervised activities.”

“Our working families are already under stress during these difficult times, and scrambling to find safe child care on furlough days will only add to the worry,” Mayor Kenoi said. “This low-cost, island-wide program will be good for our youth, and will offer relief to their parents.”

County Parks officials are in discussions with community organizations and churches that are willing to partner with the county to provide supervised activities for students on the furlough days. The County will also recruit volunteers from school A-Plus programs to help staff the County program because those volunteers have already completed background checks and other screening. Other volunteers are also being sought for the new program.

Plans call for the County to open and staff gyms, community centers and other recreational facilities to operate the new program from 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on teacher furlough days. Parents would pay a fee of $5 to $10 per child per furlough day to cover some of the cost of the program.

The County plans to adhere to the Summer Fun guideline of one adult supervisor for 20 children, which means staffing shortages could limit enrollment in the County program at some facilities. Parks officials are polling public school officials to try to obtain estimates of how many children are likely to participate.

The County is also investigating what adjustments in the County’s free Hele-On Bus service may be appropriate to accommodate the new program, Mayor Kenoi said.

More details about the program will be released late next week after the County has gathered more data on how many participants are likely to enroll, and which community and church groups will join with the county to provide services, Mayor Kenoi said.

“We want working parents to know they will have an alternative on teacher furlough days, and know their children will have a place to go where they will be busy, safe and supervised,” Mayor Kenoi said.

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