Hoxie schools and Foundation to break ground on childcare projects


Little Bugs Daycare, owned by Kylee Harris, is one of six private daycare businesses currently operating in Sheridan County.

The Sheridan County Community Foundation (SCCF) and Hoxie Community Schools USD 412 are pleased to announce that funding has been secured for both entities to break ground on their respective childcare-related projects which will add approximately 30 slots for families needing daycare in Sheridan County.


The foundation, led by Executive Director Karl Pratt, has been spearheading the projects and fundraising efforts along with members of the local Childcare Needs Committee consisting of school administrators and educators, former and current daycare providers, parents, and community members.


To date, the committee has been meeting bi-weekly to work on childcare projects. Members have visited other communities and schools to view existing daycares, as well as trainings/informational workshops, offered in-person and online by Livewell Kansas, Child Care Aware of Kansas, and the Dane G. Hansen Foundation.


In the fall of 2021, the Childcare Committee conducted two surveys in Sheridan County: a parent survey and a business community survey. It was apparent from the survey results that current childcare capacities are lacking in Sheridan County. It is affecting the workforce including larger employers like the hospital and school as well as keeping couples from starting or expanding their families currently. Additionally, parents indicated a need to leave the workforce to care for their young children.


At present, there are six licensed daycare providers in Sheridan County: five home providers in Hoxie and one group home in Selden which is set up under the umbrella of the Golden Plains Elementary School USD 316. There are also Preschools at both elementary schools in Hoxie (USD 412) and Selden.


From the committee’s research and conversations with area providers, parents, and businesses, the estimated current childcare gap in Sheridan County is 50 slots.


The committee is working to address this gap by 1) constructing a duplex facility (containing a total of two units) to be leased to daycare providers to house their childcare businesses; 2) assisting the Hoxie school district with their daycare business project; 3) establishing a childcare grant fund to assist area providers with startup, project-based, equipment needs, etc., on an ongoing basis as funds permit; 4) and compiling a variety of resources on the new county website to assist current and potential childcare providers.


Foundation Daycare Duplex Project


The committee and SCCF have been raising funds to assist in the construction and furnishing of a duplex complex in Hoxie to be owned and maintained by the foundation for the primary purpose of housing private daycare businesses.


Grant funds have been awarded by the Dane G. Hansen Foundation, Logan, ($200,000.00); Patterson Family Foundation, Kansas City, Mo. ($85,000.00); and the SCCF ($10,000.00). The Sheridan County Commissioners voted to contribute $100,000.00 from the county’s ARPA funds allotment. Additionally, the county and Sheridan County Health Complex have donated land in the Sunrise Addition on which the duplex will be constructed.


The complex will contain two, three-bedroom duplex houses. Each unit will include a garage, covered porch/entryway and a fenced-in backyard play area with a concrete patio space, play equipment, a rubber tile surface area, a grassy area, a storage shed, and outdoor furniture.


The duplex units can be leased for private daycare providers to 1) house their daycare business solely, 2) reside and house their daycare business, and/or 3) return to residential use when not needed for childcare usage.


To assist in the development of new, private childcare providers, the duplex units will be fully furnished with all start-up supplies and rented at discounted rates to address the childcare needs in an immediate fashion. The committee discovered in conversations they have had with new, potential daycare providers that there is a need for facilities to house daycares outside of their residences as well as resources to help those providers in starting up their daycare businesses. While SCCF hopes to eventually develop grant/loan programs specifically to address childcare needs locally on an ongoing basis, it is the intent of the committee and foundation to provide similar support through the fully furnished duplex units at this time.


Rent revenue will be used to cover the foundation’s expenses related to insurance, property taxes, and maintenance with a portion being reserved annually for the establishment and growth of a locally endowed childcare support grant/loan fund to be administered by SCCF.


Childcare licensing with the State of Kansas will be the responsibility of the private daycare providers leasing units in the duplex. Proper daycare licensing, certification and documentation will be required for acceptance of the daycare rental agreement for the turn-key units. Additionally, it is the intent, for access to the facilities, for daycare providers to be in operation year-round and servicing children in ages from infant to those simply needing after-school care.


Potential tenants/new daycare providers are encouraged to contact Pratt at 785-675-1240 or karlpratt.sccf@gmail.com.


School Daycare Project


Concurrent with the duplex project, the committee has been raising funds to assist in the acquisition and installment of a modular unit offered through a grant process by the Dane G. Hansen Foundation, to be placed in Hoxie. The modular will be owned and managed by the Hoxie school district to house a licensed group home daycare business with a newly created provider position on the school district’s payroll.


Priority for childcare slots will be given to school personnel with openings to the public as available. The daycare will be run year-round at full capacity, up to 10 kids full-time with the ability to add two additional after-school kids.


The modular contains three bedrooms, two bathrooms, an open kitchen, and living/play areas. It will feature a fenced-in, outdoor play area with equipment and furniture. The modular will be constructed at the northern edge of the parking area directly north of the main entrance of the Hoxie Elementary School allowing for convenient drop-off/pickup as well as ongoing maintenance by custodial staff and communication with school personnel and administration.


Grant funds have been awarded by the Dane G. Hansen Foundation, Logan, ($175,000.00); Patterson Family Foundation, Kansas City, Mo. ($30,000.00); and the SCCF ($10,000.00). The Sheridan County Commissioners voted to contribute $50,000.00 from the county’s ARPA funds allotment. In-kind donations from the City of Hoxie along with the budgeted enrollment revenue for year-one operations as well as a reimbursement from participation in the state’s Sunshine Food Program have been included in the overall project budget.


“USD 412 is extremely grateful for the opportunities afforded to our staff and community through these generous donations,” said Mandy Shipley, USD 412 District Secretary/Board Clerk. “The daycare will enable our district to recruit and retain teachers and staff who would like to start or expand their families, an opportunity that we have lost employees over in previous years. We are excited for this project and are thankful for Karl Pratt and the community daycare committee for all their help with this project now and in the future.”


The school is accepting applicants for the new Child Care Provider position which will be a full-time, salaried position with benefits. Duties will include the daily care of the children including meal preparation and service; the creation of activities for fun, growth, and development; as well as administration of licensure forms and reports in adherence to state regulations and fundraising activities for the ongoing sustainability of the childcare operation.


Interested candidates can learn more and view a full job description at www.hoxie.org and navigate to the “Current Job Openings” webpage.


Donors interested in assisting the ongoing childcare efforts of Sheridan County are encouraged to contact Pratt at the SCCF to learn more about helping establish and grow the local childcare endowment funds.


“We are very thankful to the funders for their support of our childcare projects,” said Karl Pratt, executive director, Sheridan County Community Foundation. “Adequate and quality childcare options are vital to the ecosystem of every community. We are grateful to our existing providers and hopeful the new projects will put us on a path towards reaching the immediate needs of our communities and provide a blueprint for additional expansions of capacity in this arena.”


SCCF is an affiliate of the Greater Northwest Kansas Community Foundation based in Bird City. The foundation seeks to encourage, prudently manage, and distribute charitable contributions to improve the quality of life in Sheridan County residents, now and in the future. To learn more, contact Pratt at 785-675-1240, karlpratt.sccf@gmail.com, visit www.growsheridancounty.org. Connect with SCCF at www.facebook.com/sheridanccf.

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