Claypool Town Council Selects President; Listens To Launchpad Childcare Proposal

Photo: Nick Deranek/News Now Warsaw

In its first meeting of the new year, the Claypool Town Council elected its new council president, Liz Heiman, and swore in all council members and the clerk-treasurer for 2020.

Returning board members are Heiman and Gene Warner, while Benny Stage Jr. serves as the council’s new member for the North District seat. Patricia Warner returns as clerk-treasurer.

The council heard from Sherry Searles, director of Launchpad, about the possibility of developing a childcare program at Claypool Elementary.

“Kosciusko County is what we call a ‘childcare desert,’” said Searles. “There are no licensed childcare providers in Claypool or Silver Lake. Launchpad wants to put a childcare center in Claypool Elementary for children ages birth through 5.”

Searles said that they have gotten permission from Dr. David Hoffert, superintendent of Warsaw Community Schools, to use empty rooms in the elementary school for the center.

To discuss the potential program, there will be a public meeting at 7 p.m. on Thursday at the elementary school. Funding will be primary topic of the meeting. Searles said that funding has been partially procured by Launchpad, but more will be necessary for the program to be achieved.

Everyone from the community is encouraged to attend.

Launchpad was established in October 2018 to address the childcare crisis within the county. Per its page on the Kosciusko Chamber of Commerce website, there is a shortage of 1,700 childcare seats in the area. A year’s childcare for a single child can be in the neighborhood of $10,000, making it unaffordable for many families. Licensed childcare providers are also rarely paid a living wage, reducing the number of qualified individuals to run childcare operations.

In the department head report segment of the meeting, Town Marshal Ben Sanders said that the Claypool Police Department had answered 194 service calls during December and had used 275 reserve hours.

Sanders reminded attendees that parking on Main Street is prohibited between 4 to 6 a.m. through the beginning of April for snow removal.

In other council business:

• A bid was approved for a new street department truck and police vehicle, but no purchase will be made until the council can go over the budget and determine how payments will be made.

• A $23,100 quote was approved from Kraft Water Solutions for wastewater plant flow meters. This is down from a $55,000 previous estimate.