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Champions assures CRCSD families of upcoming changes in childcare while Five Seasons staff face unknowns

Published: Jan. 28, 2022 at 5:34 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) -Questions linger among parents and staff who say they were left in the dark when the Cedar Rapids Community School District switched childcare providers.

The District contracted with the company ‘Champions’ to take over before and after school programming as well as offer full time summer care.

“I love going to work every day. I love the kids, I love the families,” Katherine Mclaud explained, Director of the Five Seasons Learning Center at Viola Gibson Elementary.

Mclaud has been with the district for 26 years.

“We have a lot more questions than answers about what our future holds,” she said Friday.

Mclaud told us Five Seasons employees were not informed of the District’s switch to ‘Champions’ until after the contract was approved in a January 10th board meeting.

“They’re saying you know well we value you and you do a great job we’ve never heard a bad thing about Five Seasons. Then why is a valued program that’s nonprofit being taken out and replaced by a for profit,” she explained.

District leaders say the switch is to expand programming to all of their elementary and middle schools. They told us around 30 Five Seasons staff are impacted who will be given opportunities to work other roles within the district, or to work with Champions, the new provider.

“Really excited to be able to meet those employees. And we do, we’re going to need employees and we’re going to need people who know the families,” said Kymberly Norrick, Regional Director of Champions.

Norrick told us Champions plans to have a meet and greet for those potential hires. And will offer full time benefits for people working at least 25 hours a week. They’re hoping Five Seasons staff and parents, continue to ask all questions they have during this transition, and plan to work with families on any pricing concerns.

“You know change is tough and I just want to assure families that we are going to make this transition as smooth as possible and we want them in our family,” Norrick said.

But for Mclaud, and many current staff, leaving the district, means leaving their state-supported retirement account. Something she is not willing to do at this point in her career.

“Some of us have been offered early retirement,” Mclaud said.

“I have until Monday morning to decide. Because of my age I will take early retirement from the district and then find another IPERS, an IPERS paying job,” she added.

Families with questions for Champions can reach out to by emailing CedarRapidsChampions@discoverchampions.com . The company has created an email dedicated to Cedar Rapids in an effort to respond quickly.

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