Multiple Southwest Florida parents contacted WINK News about being charged by Wellington Academy, a daycare company with locations in Cape Coral and Fort Myers, for the period during which the centers were closed due to Hurricane Ian.
Tawna Krug, director of Wellington Academy, confirmed that the owner charged parents for days the centers were closed due to the hurricane. Parents like Mike McSheehy are furious. he sends his 2-year-old to Wellington Academy and was shocked to see a charge of $380 on his bill for the three weeks the school was closed.
McSheehy says when he called and emailed for answers, he didn’t hear anything back except, “Sorry, you’re going to have to pay this.”
“We were hit with a bill for services that weren’t rendered,” McSheehy said. “We got a bill and, again, we didn’t get services rendered for that timeframe that the hurricane was there; the facility was closed. So, you had to make other arrangements. And there was a lot of people that had a lot of problems from the hurricane came back. And, again, they were hit with a bill.”
Krug says she understands why parents are upset, but she also understands why the school decided to charge people during their closed weeks.
“Due to the fact it’s a business, we have that in our contract—we need to keep the school afloat, we need to be able to do, you know, what we would normally do, whether we were open or closed,” Krug said.
Krug says she’s been hearing from many parents who were charged, some of whom vowed to withdraw their kids from the daycare.
“I am worried, and I’m hoping that maybe once they go looking and realize maybe they’ll have another fee to pay to put their child somewhere else, that our fee is less and they’ll just stay and be happy, because they do get good care here,” Krug said.
“Don’t feel very confident in the facility… when they do something like that, especially if they look around at the devastation that was there, and the people have gone through a lot,” McSheehy said. “Maybe had to come back without a job for a couple of weeks, also, and have to pay a bill. Was a little bit more fortunate than that; however, still, we were hit with the bill that we don’t feel was reasonable”
Krug says Wellington Academy will offer a credit to parents—$250 for full-time students, $200 for part-timers—to help them get through this tough time. McSheehy got that credit, but he’s still not happy.