School board members in Wilson County are trying to save a program that helps hundreds of teachers.
About one-fourth of teachers in the district benefit from in-school child care, but the future of the program is in jeopardy.
The children are part of a program called The Learning Center. Their parents are either Wilson County teachers or school district employees.
“Currently I have three children that are in daycare,” said Nina Williams, a school district employee. “I have a 5-year-old, a 3-year-old and a 1-year-old.
The Learning Center is a childcare program housed within schools throughout the district. It’s available to nearly 1,400 employees, but only 250 of them use it.
“I know very few places where you can go to work and take your child with you, drop them off and know that they’re just 100 yards away from you,” said Williams.
The Learning Center is being subsidized by a before and after school program called Kids Club.
“The after-school program is for anybody that has a child in the Wilson County school system,” said Williams.
The district discovered it’s spending more than $650,000 each year on The Learning Center.
“We’re either going to have to find a way to keep it going and that means an increase in cost to the people that are using it or we’re going to have to do away with it,” said Wilson County School Board chairman Larry Tomlinson.
The district is considering charging employees $60 more per week. Currently, they pay $135 per week for kids 2 and under and $125 for kids age 3 and 4.
“I would vote for the $60 increase,” said Tomlinson. “I was hoping we could cut it down lower than that, but if it’s going to take $60 to keep them open, I don’t want to see any of the sites close.”
The school board plans on holding a special meeting next week to discuss the future of the 14 learning centers in Wilson County.
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