Skip to Content

Bend parents scramble as after-school program fills fast


Next year, elementary schools in Bend will start and end classes an hour early. That has some parents scrambling to make arrangements after they could not get their children into a popular after-school program, despite its effort to expand openings.

Registration opened Monday at 5:30 a.m. for Bend Parks and Recreation’s KIDS INC program. Several parents said they were up early to register on time, but were placed on a long waitlist.

Julie Kelleher is one of those parents. Her son is a second-grader at Highland Elementary. She’s put her child in KIDS INC in the past, and calls it an invaluable program.

This year, she’s No. 15 on the waitlist for Highland. As a working parent, and because of the school time change, she’s unsure how she’ll get after-school care for her child.

“I don’t have care for my kids next year, and I don’t know what I’m going to do,” Kelleher said Tuesday. “Bend Parks and Rec was an affordable program for us to use, but they didn’t take into consideration that working parents can’t — there’s so much more demand now for the after-school programs.”

“An hour doesn’t seem like a huge difference, moving from 3:30 to 2:30, but clearly it is. Now all of us are in this position where we’re scrambling to figure out what we’re going to do in the fall.”

Theresa Nagel shares the same concern. She has a daughter in second grade at Buckingham Elementary.

The KIDS INC program increased fees from $145 to $165 for next year. She said she’s willing to pay even more because of the convenience and safety the program provides.

“I do work until 4, 4:30, 5 pretty much every day,” Nagel said. “I would not be able to continue with that schedule. I would definitely have to probably find some alternative care that would be much more expensive and very inconvenient.”

A total of 351 children are on the waitlist right now. Bend Parks and Recreation said it’s working hard to reduce that number.

Officials say because schools are getting out at 2:30 instead of 3:30, they increased the available space in the program this year by 40 percent.

They also expected to call 100 people by the end of the day Tuesday to move them off the waitlist.

Matt Mercer, the services director for Bend Parks and Rec, said he will try to regularly communicate with those still on the waitlist to help them find alternative options.

“We’ll keep working to accommodate as many people as we can, but we’re probably never going to be 100 percent,” Mercer said.

Some of the options Mercer mentioned include enrolling your child in a Boys and Girls Club program. Another suggestion is to register your child for KIDS INC at another elementary school, but Mercer said Bend Parks and Rec would not be able to provide transportation.

North Star and Ensworth Elementary have nearly 80 available spots combined.

Mercer said the park district is working with schools to open up more space for children. He said most schools will be able to do that, but Highland Elementary is at full capacity.

Article Topic Follows: News

Jump to comments ↓

KTVZ News Team


KTVZ NewsChannel 21 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content