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Kids Zone gets state licensing making it legal
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Kids Zone is now meeting a Manteca City Council directive issued in November:  Make it legal and no more “profits.”

The State of California has now officially licensed the before- and after-school Kids Zone program that operates at nine Manteca Unified elementary campuses for children in kindergarten through the seventh grade.

At the same time, tighter cost accounting has shown that the Kids Zone could end up losing $40,000 when the current fiscal year ends June 30 based on a mid-year budget progress report staff presented to the council in January.

An original city number crunching of the Manteca Parks & Recreation program conducted when day care providers started questioning the legality of  the city-operated program as it wasn’t licensed by the state indicated that Kids Zone generated $296,710.96 in the 2009-10 fiscal year ending last June 30. Indirect expenses were pegged at $179,464.60. After factoring in in-direct expenses for support staff and such the actual “net” was about $20,000 for last fiscal year.

The city contended Kids Zone that was started in 1999 was exempt from state laws although they couldn’t generate a specific document by the state that indicated that was the case. The city opted to get the required license to remove any doubts.

It cost the city $6,000 to have the State of California Department of Social Services process licensing for the participating school sites and $2,700 to re-fingerprint the Kids Zone staff.

City staff worked with the state to determine what Kids Zone workers need additional Early Childhood Education units. Five of the 30 part-time instructors and aides have the required 12 units. The state will give others up to a year to comply.

The state allowed the city to continue to operate Kids one while the 90-day licensing process took place. They also agreed not to assess a $200 a day fine as allowed under state law.

Kids Zone is currently averaging 350 participants per month at the nine sites.

The KinderZone program is for children in morning kindergarten classes and operates from the dismissal time of morning kindergarten until the regular school dismissal time. Locations are at Joshua Cowell, Stella Brockman, Neil Hafley, McParland Annex, and Woodward elementary schools. Students must eat lunch (either a sack lunch brought from home or purchased lunch in the school cafeteria) prior to attending the KinderZone Program. An afternoon snack is provided daily.

The after-school program operates from regular school dismissal time (including minimum days) until 6 p.m. Locations are at Brock Elliott, Joshua Cowell, Stella Brockman, Neil Hafley, McParland, McParland Annex, Woodward, New Haven, Nile Garden, and Veritas Elementary schools.

All of the programs operate Monday through Friday but on school days only.

The programs have been designed to provide a safe and supervised setting for children to participate in a variety of recreational activities. Arts and crafts, cooperative games, and indoor/outdoor group activities will be available. The Kids Zone program promotes the social, physical, and intellectual development of children.

Fees (per child, per program) are $115 per month, $50 per week, or $20 per day for drop-ins. All program registrations will be taken at the Parks and Recreation Department office, not at school sites.  

For additional information, visit Parks and Recreation at 252 Magnolia Avenue, call the department office at 456-8600, or visit the website at: The program application and parent handbook are available for download at the website.