Community members from the Child Educational Center

Community members from the Child Educational Center participate in the Fiesta Days Parade during the La Cañada Fiesta Days on Memorial Day, Monday, May 27, 2013. (Photo by Libby Cline / May 27, 2013)

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The Child Educational Center will continue to provide child-care services to the La Cañada Unified families, after the school board unanimously approved Tuesday a five-year contract extension with the facility.

The renewal comes after a research period in which the district surveyed local parents and made improvements to its long-standing working relationship with the center.

In 2013, some families expressed disappointment with the agency’s services, claiming the district failed to interview parents who chose not to enroll in the center’s program or who withdrew their children altogether and did not explore viable alternatives offered in the community.

School board members extended the contract for a shorter period, promising in the meantime to conduct a survey of area families with children in transitional kindergarten through sixth grade. That survey, conducted in May, determined that 79% of the parents who had used the center’s child-care services were satisfied.

Only 20 of 280 respondents said they were dissatisfied.

Elyssa Nelson, the center’s executive director, said Tuesday many improvements had been made in the past year, including the creation of a parents advisory group.

“We love this community, we love the district and we love working with [Supt. Wendy Sinnette] and all the principals,” Nelson told the board. “We’re just proud to be part of this village, raising the kids in the community.”