Barre Mills daycare announces abrupt closure due to understaffing

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BARRE MILLS, Wis. (WKBT) – Some parents are scrambling to find a daycare after their Barre Mills daycare gives them two weeks’ notice to find another provider.

The Barre Patch Christian Child Care Board told parents in a letter that instead of closing in late January as planned, it is now shutting down on Thanksgiving eve.

“You know, you start to think about a lot of things, whether one of us is going to have to quit,” said parent Marc Luethe.

Luethe’s 2-year-old daughter goes to Barre Patch.

But after Thanksgiving, Luethe says he doesn’t know who will be able to look after her.

“It’s going to be a difficult thing in the future without having a daycare,” Luethe said.

Luethe received a letter from the Barre Patch Board on Tuesday.

In the letter, the board says the daycare’s problems have forced it to speed up its closure plans, adding: “As such, we cannot operate safely and legally after Wednesday, November 24. . “

“From what I understand, the staff are wonderful and have been wonderful,” said Kim Gorka, president of the Great Rivers chapter of the Wisconsin Early Childhood Association. “They (the parents) really appreciated this staff, but there aren’t enough of them.

Gorka says Barre Patch couldn’t hire enough staff to stay open.

“In a day care center, you can only have a limited number of children per qualified adult,” she said.

Falling wages are one of the reasons it’s difficult to hire child care workers, Gorka said.

“We need to determine how the child care staff earn $ 30,000 per year and whether they have health insurance,” she said. “And then people want to go out into the field.”

Meanwhile, Luethe has another child on the way in January.

And he says he still hasn’t found a place for his two-year-old.

“We may have to rely on family members to help us,” Luethe said.

Make tough decisions in a short period of time.

Gorka, who also owns Children’s Palace Preschool & Childcare in West Salem, tells me that Barre Patch is currently caring for 42 children.

She hopes to take in some of these children and tries to hire some Barre Patch employees.

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