MARINETTE — In order to provide more opportunities for families of 4K students in Menekaunee Early Sunrise Learning Center, the Marinette School District will be partnering with the Marinette-Menominee YMCA for a pilot daycare program next year.

Superintendent Wendy Dzurick told the Marinette School Board Tuesday night about the need for an option for daycare. The board unanimously approved the proposal.

Menekaunee Early Learning Center will be offering one full day 4K program this coming school year, which is completely based on a lottery. Students who don’t receive a spot will continue with half days.

According to Dzurick, parents expressed concern regarding childcare needs if their students didn’t get in the full day program.

“We’ve had many parents express concern about mid-day travel,” she explained. “It’s a half-day program, so what do they do with their son or daughter for the other half of the day?”

The board originally tabled the idea of bringing some type of daycare into the district.

“We couldn’t do this because we weren’t compliant — it would have been a costly endeavor,” Dzurick said.

YMCA Director Terri Falkenberg contacted Dzurick, asking if the YMCA could be a potential partner.

“I explained what we’re trying to do is to help our parents by providing daycare opposite our half-day sessions,” she said. “She came in and talked with us. The Y agreed they could do the program, but they aren’t in the business of busing and can’t afford to pay for it.”

Dzurick said the YMCA could provide “a very comprehensive kids care program that would allow access to swimming, all kind of activities and opportunities for the students, but they couldn’t provide busing,” she said.

“So we went to Brian (Walters, finance and business director) and asked him to contact Tom Westlund to see if we could add on to existing routes that would allow us to make this happen,” she said.

Again, Dzurick said, the word pilot is stated because “the Y is willing to pilot and we’re willing to pilot this program. If you approve this, the letters to send to the parents will be sent out because we’re very excited to be able to share this opportunity with them.”

This coming school year, Dzurick said, there will be one session of full day 4K, which will be a lottery system.

The remaining parents would have the opportunity for daycare opposite that program,” she said. “I met with the Y and asked if they would be willing to give me a cost because we wanted to make sure it’s something that would be affordable for our parents.

“Don’t quote me, but this is a projection — they’re looking at about $2 an hour for the daycare. So it will be a great service done by a great organization that we have a great partnership with at a very reasonable rate. We’re very, very excited about this partnership.”

The lottery will take place June 1, and letters will be mailed out to every parent that afternoon regarding if their child received the full day or not.

“And again, it will be a reminder of the Y program,” Dzurick said. “What I’m excited is that our leadership team really listened to the parents and stakeholders and tried to provide opportunities for our families.”