By Laura Hayes, Senior Community Reporter
SOUTHBOROUGH – Southborough Public Schools will be studying the feasibility of the district taking on an in-house before and after school program.
“We contract out for a lot of different services, transportation being one,” Superintendent Gregory Martineau said during a Sept. 9 Southborough School Committee meeting. “[The] before and after school extended day program is the only service that we contract out that directly provides a service to our students.”
Southborough students are served by the Southborough Extended Day Program (SEDP), which was founded by parents approximately 35 years ago.
Martineau said the district has created a one-year licensing agreement with SEDP, which will be in place for the entire school year.
“Parents are really grateful that we had an extended day program that started off in September,” said Vice Chair Kamali O’Meally. “I just wanted to relay that, and I think that situation has gone well.”
SEDP’s contract was slated to end in August. Martineau previously told the Community Advocate that districts are required to follow a procurement process when the contract ends.
SEDP was one of four providers who submitted requests for proposals (RFP).
Over the summer, the district scheduled a listening session after parents learned the district planned to recommend a new provider to the School Committee.
“This is my eighth year in the district. I’ve been a part of many conversations around extended day programs, and specifically the question whether or not to contract out or actually for the district to take on a before and after school program,” Martineau said.
Over the summer, the district engaged in another RFP process. Martineau said through that process, one of the conversations was that the district felt it wanted to study the feasibility of taking on the program.
“Through the conversations with the central office team, we feel that the resources we have within the district, knowing our students, that we can really develop an outstanding before and after school program for our community and also capitalize on the expertise that we have as a school district,” Martineau said.
He said the district has decided to reject all of the RFPs received. All of the bidders have offered to partner and assist in the process, he said.
If the results of the feasibility study indicate that it’s feasible for the district to take on the program and it makes sense, Martineau said that’s the option the district will pursue. It would be in place for the 2022-2023 school year.
When asked by School Committee member Jennifer Primack, Martineau said such a program would be staffed by a combination of internal and external hires.
O’Meally asked that the School Committee hear feedback from the review early on.
Martineau said the feasibility study will conclude in early December.
“That is to provide us enough time to plan and prepare, but also communicate with the current provider and families so that they can have assurity of what they can expect come the fall and summer in terms of extended day programs,” Martineau said.