Investing in Early Education: Geary County Unified School District 475’s Innovative Approach to Early Childhood Development
9 Feb 2024
In a significant leap forward for the Geary County Unified School District (USD) 475, plans are underway to expand the existing Early Childhood Center to better cater to the growing demand for early intervention and social-emotional learning opportunities.
The Board of Education is taking proactive steps to build a state-of-the-art facility, recognizing the importance of meeting the needs of an increasing number of three and four-year-old students. This expansion aims to enhance young learners’ academic and social-emotional well-being and foster economic growth in the community.
Early Childhood Education Facility Needs and Funding
The decision to expand the Early Childhood Center stems from the realization that the current facility falls short of meeting the needs of the growing number of eligible students. Early intervention has been identified as crucial during the formative years, prompting the Board of Education to pursue the construction of a larger and updated facility.
The funding proposal is a forward-thinking approach that allows the district to avoid asking residents to cover the costs. The school district will secure the necessary funds from investors and a bank to construct a 24-classroom facility through a lease agreement. The superintendent outlines a strategic plan to pay off the 10-year loan, showcasing fiscal responsibility and forward planning.
“Getting creative with how we fund the construction of the Early Childhood Center allows us to see what the community needs and take action,” said Superintendent Dr. Reginald Eggleston. “There is an immediate need for early childhood services for our community, and we are committed to ensuring that those resources are available to families.”
Expanding Childcare Services and Saving Money
The expanded facility is projected to accommodate 16-18 students per class, with a total of 24 classrooms. This increase in capacity not only meets the growing demand for early childhood education but also offers financial relief to parents.
By providing free, publicly funded early childhood learning opportunities, families can redirect funds typically spent on childcare towards other needs, such as education or saving for the future. This innovative approach aligns with the district’s commitment to making education accessible and beneficial to all.
In Kansas, the average annual cost for childcare of a four-year-old child can be $8,798, or $733 each month. By increasing the capacity of the Early Childhood Center, parents can use that extra $733 for other expenses, savings, or things that are important to them and their children.
Improving the School District’s Reputation and Attractiveness
Dr. Eggleston emphasizes the importance of the school district’s reputation and competitiveness. “Beyond the immediate benefits to families, the expanded Early Childhood Center enhances the community’s appeal to potential residents and businesses. In a time where there are many options on where to live, our district aims to remain relevant and competitive by offering attractive and effective programs that make a real difference.”
Geary County USD 475’s investment in early childhood education signifies a commitment to the well-being of its youngest residents and the community’s overall prosperity. The school district is poised to set a new standard in providing quality education and fostering economic growth by addressing the needs of an expanding population of young learners and adopting an innovative financing model. This strategic initiative benefits families and positions Junction City and Geary County as a desirable destination for those seeking a thriving, forward-thinking community.
The Junction City-Geary County Economic Development Commission Can Help
For more direction or help connecting with resources, reach out to JC-GCEDC today. The region is growing, the economy is booming, and there is room for additional businesses to expand here. Our strategic location, paired with skilled labor and an actively pro-business climate, are assets for any company, but especially for our target industries. Explore our full array of tools for site selectors here and contact us at 785-762-1976 or email@example.com.