Parents protest high costs of child care

Kfar Saba's parents have gone up in arms over what they say is the overly high cost of afternoon care for their kindergarten children, reports The parents say it is unreasonable that they are being charged more than NIS 1,000 per month for afternoon care when parents in neighboring cities are paying NIS 100 to NIS 200 less, and are getting the care for longer hours into the bargain. According to the report, Green councilor Eti Gan-El says she has received numerous complaints from parents about the high cost of afternoon care, and although she has presented questions about the issue to Mayor Yehuda Ben-Hamo, his answers "are not satisfactory." She said that while parents in Kfar Saba are paying more than NIS 1,000 per month for afternoon care at kindergartens until 4 p.m., parents in Hod Hasharon are paying NIS 790 for the same time or NIS 880 until 5 pm, while in Ra'anana parents are paying NIS 920 until 4:30 p.m. Gan-El said that while Kfar Saba was justifying the high costs by saying that the number of children in each kindergarten was limited to 31 and not 35 as in other cities, she had found that this was not accurate, and that in Ramat Hasharon, Hod Hasharon and Ra'anana there was an average of 29 or 30 children in each kindergarten. She also said it also seemed the finances of the Kfar Saba kindergartens were "not being managed properly," as the city was claiming that its kindergartens were running at a loss and it had a financial deficit because of the low number of children in each kindergarten, when the other cities had similar numbers of children but did not have any financial losses. A municipal spokesman said that Kfar Saba had a formal long school day while the other cities had afternoon care (tsaharonim), and it was "incorrect" to compare them.