NewsLocal News


Why this rural school leader set out to fix family 'Day Care Desert' issues

Two America's
Two Americas.png
Posted at 5:55 PM, Jun 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-30 23:23:17-04

MILWAUKEE -- In our Two America's series, we are spotlighting "Day Care Deserts" in our rural communities.

So many families were leaving Weyauwega over lack of daycare options that the district's administrator decided to build their own daycare for two to four-year-old's. We showed you when they first broke ground on construction last year.

It was just finished this spring. TMJ4 News went back to Waupaca County to see how the daycare inside of a busy school has worked so far.

The community response has been positive. District administrator Phillip Tubbs believes he may have just figured out how to fix this district's sinking enrollment, by helping parents stuck in "Daycare Deserts."

Tubbs says just a decade ago, there were 1,000 students enrolled there. This past school year, there were about 800 students. He says each student enrolled provides about $10,000 in district funding.

The daycare is now called "Little Hawks Child Care Center," a play off of the school's mascot.

little hawks.png

Mom Alysson Bowden is grateful. She was stuck on a wait list for day cares in the area for months to find a safe place to take her two-year-old son Sebastian.

"Then I went on the state website to find a licensed daycare in-home in my area, and called every single one, and either they were no longer in operation or they too were full," Bowden said.

Photo Courtesy-Alysson Bowden.jpg

It was a huge relief for Bowden's family when the daycare opened at the school in March of this year, "And an extra sense of security as a parent, since it is right in the school," adding that her son has learned speech including saying colors and learning to count.

Childcare director Hope Steiger says she believes the daycare will help retain families in Waupaca County, "Definitely, oh yeah. I actually have kiddos that are from different counties that are open-enrolling into 4-K here."

A win-win that in the end takes care of families in this tight-knit community, and our next generation.

The district administrator says it cost about $350,000 to build this daycare. He says the school board approved the use of district funding to pay for it. The long-term goal is for the facility to pay for itself.

Report a typo or error // Submit a news tip