Changing PPS schedule puts care centers under pressure
PEORIA (Heart of Illinois ABC) - District 150′s new school calendar, starting two weeks ahead of the traditional schedule, means a changing impact on childcare providers.
“It’s rough,” says Stepping Stones Learning Academy’s Haley Butler. “Everybody is on their own schedule now.”
The biggest shifts come for facilities serving multiple school districts. That means coordinating several schedules at once, including transportation, staffing, and operating times, with two weeks of offset care required.
Right now, Peoria families also face long waiting lists if they want to sign up for any programs. That’s the case at facilities like 1-2-3 You N’ Me in Peoria, where they’re fully booked.
“I think with all the families that are out there, there really need to have a plan and have a place for their child way before school starts,” says Director and Owner Lori Flores.
Flores adds that finding supplies and equipment has also been a struggle. She’s had to drive out as far as Bloomington to find common craft items.
It’s not just paints and construction paper they’re short of, either. Facilities are having a difficult time finding new, qualified hires.
“It’s kind of hard, with daycares right now, there’s been a shortage of teachers, just like in the schools,” says Butler. “So we’ve been trying to get by, as best as we can.”
Many parents are on the fence about the changes.
“We had a couple of families when this first happened, they were kind of upset,” says Flores. “Like, how are we gonna do this, and I’m just like ‘you’re gonna do this, this is what we’re doing.’”
The centers say while the immediate effects are taking a toll, they will adjust in a matter of weeks once more districts begin to return to class. But that will still leave holes in their operations.
“I think daycare-wise, I think it would make it a lot easier if we stayed on one schedule together,” says Butler.
But for the children, it’s business as usual.
“I think the kids are ready to go back to school,” adds Flores.
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