District works with Happy Campers to build a daycare at Carlmont


Veronica Roseborough

Happy Camper’s current preschool is located at 510 Laurel St., San Carlos. The company will be in charge of the new facility at Carlmont High School.

Veronica Roseborough, Editor-in-Chief

It is no secret that living in the Bay Area comes at a cost.

Educators, as well as community members, may have a hard time living comfortably in this area, especially those with young children.

Looking to provide affordable child care, the Sequoia Union High School District (SUHSD) plans to build a new daycare on the Carlmont campus. The daycare will be open to children of three to 36 months and will be run by Happy Campers.

In order to determine whether or not the daycare was worth the investment, “McEvoy [the assistant superintendent of human resources] put out a survey for the staff to see how many staff district-wide have children of infant to toddler range and would take advantage of a service here at Carlmont,” Principal Ralph Crame said.

The survey produced very positive responses. As a result, the district began the search for the right child care organization.

“Several daycare organizations submitted proposals. There was a grading process, and we selected Happy Campers to be the provider for the daycare center,” Crame said.

Although the district still has a few details to finalize, the projected opening date is Feb. 1, 2018. Some of these details include constructing a play yard, putting up a fence, and meeting all the licensing requirements.

However, the daycare’s current age range may not serve the needs of all.

Vinay Shah and Denise Mandell are newcomers to San Carlos, looking for a good school system for their children. Since both parents work full time, they need a daycare their children can be in until kindergarten, which they wouldn’t be able to do.

“Since we have two kids, it would be inconvenient if the older one was between three and five and had to go to a different daycare than the younger one. We would probably be willing to pay a little more to have them in the same daycare,” said Shah.

However, despite the inconvenience, the Mandell-Shah family said that they “would be thrilled if there were high quality, low-cost options available.”

Happy Campers aims to provide just that.

The company posted a letter to SUHSD employees on their website stating, “Our program has been part of the San Carlos Community for over 20 years, serving over 1,000 families to date […] We are in excellent standing with Community Care Licensing and have had seamless transactions, making several changes to our programs in an effort to better serve the needs of the community.”

With enough space for up to 60 children, 48 priority spots will go to the children of staff members who have filled out the special employee waitlist form. They will then receive a 30 percent discount if accepted.

The remaining 12 spots will be open to the public at full price.

According to the Executive Director of Happy Campers Audra Tsivikas, the daycare intends to be open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. to avoid conflict with the already busy Carlmont traffic. Part-time options will be offered as well.

“I feel we have created a great partnership because we both recognize the challenges and sacrifices of teachers in this area,” Tsivikas said. “We are hopeful to provide mostly SUHSD employees with a quality childcare option that fits better into the budgets of teachers and other district personnel.”