Park City School District Child Care Center closing
The Park City School District Child Care Center announced over the weekend that it’s permanently closing next month. School district employees and other parents who rely on the service are now scrambling.
Students aren’t in Park City School District classrooms until Wednesday. But teachers prepping for the year ahead started August 11th.
Some of those teachers dropped their children off at the Park City School District Child Care Center last week with the understanding they would do that for the entire school year.
But Saturday evening, childcare center board member Danielle Hall emailed families news that the center would close September 19th.
Hall wrote that the inability to provide competitive wages was one of the reasons the center was closing. She wrote that while the center is at the high school and caters to teachers, it is financially independent from the district.
It will be torn down soon during new construction, and district hasn’t announced what future child care services will look like. Hall wrote that has fueled uncertainty and led employees to find work elsewhere.
Ashley Baer is the director of the center. She did not respond to a request for comment.
A parent whose child is enrolled at the center said 19 Park City teachers use it for child care. Another parent who has used the center said typically it cares for about 60 children each day.
Currently, tuition at the center is $1,190 per month for five days a week for an infant. It's full and has had a waiting list.
The center has provided families with affordable day care for decades. It is a nonprofit that follows teachers’ schedules and cares for children ages 3 months to 5 years.
KPCW spoke with several parents who wished to remain anonymous due to fear of retaliation. Two fathers with children enrolled there whose wives are teachers voiced frustration at what they described as a lack of communication from the day care center and school district.
Both said they’ve been calling around and have learned that wait lists for other local child care facilities are 100 families long. And both said their wives were considering taking leaves of absence until they can figure out child care.
Park City Council member Becca Gerber is a mother of two and understands the frustration many families are feeling in the community.
"And it is it's so expensive to run a child care facility to have it licensed to have all the certifications that you need to have and to be able to pay your staff a living wage," she said. "It's just incredibly expensive. And rents here are so high that for a lot of child care, it's just not it's not a sustainable business. And it really does need further subsidies by from government.”
As of the publication of this story the district has not responded to request for comment.