Error delays creation of pre-k program at Niskayuna – The Daily Gazette

NISKAYUNA — Parents in the Niskayuna Central School District will have to wait a little longer to see if their child can participate in a new universal pre-kindergarten program the district is trying to create after the district had to reissue a request for proposals to organizations.

Board chairman Kim Tully said Thursday that at a special board meeting early Wednesday morning, the board voted to reissue the request for proposals.

The school district published a full-page legal notice in the Gazette on Friday and also posted information about the tender and how to apply on its website — steps it didn’t. not taken the first time.

Change was needed, said Kelly Olsen, co-owner of Kiddie Car Nursery School. However, she said that given the limited time to apply, she does not see how organizations will be able to put plans in place.

Prior to Tuesday night’s school board meeting and then during the meeting, Olsen raised concerns that the district’s process would not be fair or equitable if he went ahead with a contract with the Center. Schenectady Jewish Community, since many other organizations had not even received the RFP the district said it mailed. A contract was to be approved with the CCC at Tuesday’s meeting, but was withdrawn.

The district first announced its plans with the JCC at its April 12 meeting.

“I know for sure that we haven’t received a tender,” Olsen said during the meeting. “We were looking for one. We looked in the newspapers, we looked on social media, we checked our mail, we never received any.

Olsen said speaking to Assistant Superintendent Marie Digirolamo and Acting Superintendent Juliette Pennyman, she learned that the district had sent out tenders to organizations based on an outdated list. The list was at least a decade old, Olsen said. She said her business address was not correct even though the district should have the correct address on file since the company receives other mailings from the district. On top of that, Olsen said, three of the district’s main feeder schools — Saint Kateri Tekakwitha Parish School, Niskayuna Reformed Church Nursery and Preschool, and Niskayuna Community Day Care — were also not listed. on the list.

There were also four businesses on the list that are no longer open, Olsen said.

“I spent my spring break calling every school on the list,” she said. “I only found three institutions besides the JCC that received a call for tenders. Sixty-six percent of the schools I was able to contact did not receive a call for tenders. »

The district attributed the situation to an “unintentional error”.

“We are committed to moving forward as quickly as possible using a robust process because we know the benefits of early childhood education are invaluable to our families,” said district spokesperson Roberto LoBianco. “We are confident that a high-quality universal pre-K program will be in place for the fall to provide children with positive early learning experiences that will help them prepare for school.”

LoBianco said the request for proposals was also sent to organizations based on a new current list. The district did not provide this list after several requests.

The proposed plan with the JCC was to provide pre-kindergarten to 50 children who resided in the district through a lottery process. This process was to take place in mid-May. However, new tenders must be submitted before May 20. The supplier will be interviewed at the end of May, with a decision to be made no later than June 6, according to the tender.

“JCC Schenectady has followed the guidelines given to us in responding to the Universal Pre-K tender,” said David Posner, CEO of JCC Capital Region. “While we are disappointed with this temporary delay, we also agree that these types of procurement opportunities must be conducted appropriately and to the letter of the law. We look forward to responding to the next call for tenders and are confident that our proposal will again be favorably received.

Olsen and co-owner Maura Castle said they already have 40 families signed up for next year, and other locations are likely signing up as well. Olsen said the district told him the first tender went out in November and then again in January.

“Twenty days isn’t a lot,” Olsen and Castle said.

Due to the time constraint and given that they have already registered families for next year, the two owners said it was unlikely they would be able to submit a tender.

Journalist Shenandoah Brière can be reached at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at SB_DailyGazette.

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