On Friday, Superintendent Gregory Martineau updated parents of Southborough Public School students on the status of selecting an Extended Day provider for the coming school year. The administration will use community feedback to issue a new Request for Proposals. The target deadline for selecting the winning proposal is Monday, August 9th.
For parents anxious to know sooner who will run the program this fall, Martineau explained:
Although the timing is not ideal, it is the soonest a decision can be communicated as selecting a vendor is timebound by the Uniform Procurement Act.
As I previously reported, the school district rebooted an RFP process after complaints from the community about replacing the 30+ year old non-profit with a for-profit vendor. Martineau told the community that their process was flawed since they hadn’t sought feedback on what families were seeking in a program.
To inform the new RFP, parents were invited to provide feedback through a survey issued on June 24th or a June 28th zoom forum.
In Friday’s message, Martineau shared the survey results. 178 people responded. About 75% indicated that they intend to use the before/after school program in the 2021-2022 school year. (Another 13% selected “other”, which may include parents hoping to use the service in a subsequent year.)
From a list of services, respondents ranked Reliability as the highest priority. The next most important were: Enjoyable and fun for students, Consistency, and Flexibilty in days/hours. The second-to-lowest priority was providing homework help. There appeared to be only slight differences in results when parents were asked to answer which of the services they were looking for. (Though, since three labels are missing in the posted results, some details aren’t clear.)
As for feedback during the zoom forum, the Community Advocate covered the discussion:
“To switch to something else without parents actually saying, let’s switch or parents knowing why there’s a need to switch, without us telling you there’s a problem, is something that, in this particular process, bothered me significantly,” said resident Leonard Sutton during the listening session. . .
SEDP pays rent for the space it uses, which is one of the triggers for the procurement process, Martineau told the Community Advocate.
This is not the first time SEDP has gone through the RFP process, which is done every three years. The difference this year is that SEDP had previously been either unopposed or unanimously selected. . .
Kathryn Nordstrom works at home over 40 hours a week, but her schedule means that she can’t pick up her child from school at 2:30 p.m.
“Extended day to me, it’s friends and fun that I can’t provide to her,” said Nordstrom.
Some parents advocated for a program that had a sense of community and not an extension of school. One parent shared how SEDP organized a scavenger hunt for the kids during the pandemic.
You can read the full article here.