The Brookfield Parks and Recreation Department is now providing before and after school care at the five elementary schools of Lyons-Brookfield Elementary School District 103 despite only one of those schools, Lincoln School, being located in Brookfield.
Stevie Ferrari, the director of the Brookfield Parks and Recreation Department, said District 103 approached the in early August to see if they were willing to run a before- and after-school care program in the district.
In just a couple weeks, Ferrari and new Recreation Supervisor Cindy Yelich had the program up and running, having expanded the village’s STARS program to District 103.
“It was a very, very large undertaking right before the start of school,” Ferrari said. “It’s going to go down in the history books in the field of recreation, in getting a before- and after-school program up and running in less than two weeks.”
Ferrari said Yelich, who supervises the program, was essential in getting the program up and running so quickly.
“She’s a veteran in the field and she absolutely got it done,” Ferrari said.
Ferrari said District 103 liked that the Brookfield Parks and Recreation Department had an existing program.
“They liked the way we operated, our policies, procedures, structure, what we were able to do,” Ferrari said.
Previously District 103 had run its own before- and after-school care program, but difficulties in getting bus transportation had the district looking for an outside provider this year.
“If we would have maintained it ourselves, we would have been only able to put it in two buildings, and that would just be very difficult for little kids to get from their home school to a school that’s somewhat nearby,” said District 103 Superintendent Kristopher Rivera.
Ferrari and Yelich quickly hired 11 staff members, including some who had previously worked in the program when District 103 ran it.
The STARS program already was serving some Brook Park School students through an arrangement with Brookfield-LaGrange Park School District 95. Although District 95’s onsite program is run by a private company called Right at School, the Parks and Recreation Department serves approximately 50 Brook Park students daily who are transported by bus between Brookfield Village Hall and Brook Park School.
In District 103, however, the STARS program is based at each of the district’s five elementary schools.
Ferrari said that the Parks and Recreation Department is trying to serve all of Brookfield.
“We want to be able to serve the families within our boundaries, but it means we’re going to four different school districts to try and do it,” Ferrari said. “Additionally, we have some diversity, equity and inclusivity initiatives in serving geographical equity. … We try to serve as much of Brookfield as equitably as possible. We’re really excited to be able to do it.”
Ferrari said serving just Lincoln School, which the lone District 103 school in Brookfield, was not something that District 103 was interested in.
Families participating in the program pay the Brookfield Parks and Recreation Department directly. District 103 allows the Parks and Recreation Department to use its schools without charge. According to an intergovernmental agreement approved by both District 103 and Brookfield Village Board, the Brookfield Parks and Recreation Department runs the program and hires the staff.
The program provides care in the morning from 6:30 to 8:30 a.m. and from 3 to 6 p.m. Families can sign up for before-school care, after-school care or both. They can also pick a five-day-a-week plan or a flexible three-day-a-week plan.
Combined before- and after-school care for five days a week costs $260 a month. Five days a week of only before-school care costs $116 a month, while five days of only after-school care costs $232 a month. Three days a week of before-school care costs $72 a month, while three days a week of after-school care costs $144 a month.
More information is available at brookfieldil.gov/departments/recreation-department/stars-program.