Day care a costly potential option for parents of CPS students
BY CASEY TONER email@example.com September 6, 2012 11:20PM
Updated: October 9, 2012 2:39PM
Taking the kids to a friend’s house or teaching them their ABCs at home might be options for some parents of Chicago Public Schools students as a possible strike by CPS teachers nears.
Other parents, though, may get an unwanted lesson in economics if teachers strike. Those unaccustomed to paying for day care could find themselves shelling out hundreds of dollars per week starting Monday — which is the earliest teachers can strike — if no settlement is reached before then.
Kathern Williams, of Chicago’s Beverly community, whose second-grade son attends Keller Elementary School in the neighboring Mount Greenwood community, joked that she would be depending on “her great Keller family” for day care help.
“We’ll be going on a whole lot of play dates at somebody’s house on a regular basis,” Williams said.
A more realistic option, Williams said, was enrolling her son in a nearby day care. He already has spent time at Inspiration Academy, 10630 S. Western Ave. in Chicago.
Michelle Robinson, an assistant director at Inspiration Academy, said the doors of the day care center would be opening during school hours to accommodate city parents. The business normally is open to kids only before and after school.
“We’re expanding because people have to go to work and the kids have to go somewhere,” Robinson said.
Inspiration Academy charges $65 a week per child for morning day care, and $99 for after-school day care. It’s $115 a week for morning and after school; a price for all-day care has not been determined.
Day care centers Hill of Angels, 2760 W. 111th St. in Chicago; and Nico’s Playhouse, 1855 W. 95th St. in Chicago, also plan to keep afternoon hours during the strike.
Nico’s Playhouse charges $75 a week per child for all-day care. Hill of Angels charges $160 a week for all-day care.
Kathy Benson, of the Beverly community, is a stay-at-home mom who expects to teach her third-grade son Sean if Keller Elementary School closes.
“I think I’d do some homeschooling, take some field trips to museums, and read and try to teach him what I can on my own,” Benson said. “I would hope it wouldn’t last long. I want him to be here in school.”
Delphine Bridges said she might send her sixth-grader Alicia, who also attends Keller Elementary School, to one of the 144 schools that will remain open but be teacher-less. Functioning as a safety net for parents, the teacher-less schools will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. weekdays and will provide breakfast and lunch.
Mount Greenwood Elementary School, 10841 S. Homan Ave.; Barbara Vick Early Childhood Center, 2554 W. 113th St.; and the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences, 3857 W. 111th St., are among the Southland schools set to welcome students.
Bridges, of Chicago’s South Shore neighborhood, said she works as a Cook County Sheriff’s officer and can’t be home for her daughter during the day.
“I really hope they come to an agreement and not strike,” Bridges said. “I think it would hurt the kids for them to start and then stop academically. I’m praying they will come to some kind of agreement.”