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'I am scrounging,' parents surprised when school childcare program announces closure

Posted at 10:58 PM, Apr 19, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-19 23:58:26-04

GILLETT (NBC 26) — The Gillett School District Board voted to end their childcare program Thursday. The School Board Treasurer says the program was losing about $20,000 of taxpayer money per month.

  • A concerned parent wrote in to NBC 26 after learning the Gillett School District childcare program will be ending with the school year
  • The board treasurer says the program, which began in July, had been losing money
  • Two moms share that they do not know what they will do for childcare come June

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story.)

The Gillett School Board has voted to stop their childcare program at the end of this school year. I'm Pari Apostolakos reporting in Gillett, where the vote happened Thursday.

Board Treasurer Cliff Gerber spoke with me off camera outside the district offices Friday. Gerber says the wraparound childcare program had been losing $20,000 a month, and when it started in July, he says, they expected about 50 kids to join. But, only 20 enrolled.

"I feel for these people and I understand the need for adequate childcare," Gerber said. "I don't know what else we can do right now."

"The only way I found out about it at all was by word of mouth," mother Erin Bancroft said. "Nothing was sent home to parents either."

Concerned, Bancroft wrote to our newsroom.

"There's not very many childcare options," she said.

Bancroft said she was concerned about a possible conflict of interest on the board. Gerber says one of the board members is related to the manager of a childcare center in Gillet. Gerber told me he asked that board member whether or not they should vote. He said that person did vote.

"That's not appropriate," Bancroft said.

The board voted five to one to end the program.

"We currently do not have child care as of June 3," Bacncroft said. "So, I am scrounging to find something."

Samantha Steldt spoke with me on the phone. She says her kids love the Gillett School District's childcare program.

"I don't have an idea yet of what we're going to do," she said. "And we don't really have a lot of time to figure that out either. So that's also a bummer."

Gerber says in order to make the program viable, the enrollment would have to triple and staffing costs would have to be cut. In Gillett, Pari Apostolakos NBC 26.