Daycare transportation disappearing at Lee County schools

Author: Camila Pereira Writer: Matias Abril
Published: Updated:

A program that hundreds of families rely on to get their children to and from daycare will soon be gone.

On Friday, Lee County schools told parents that after-school programs’ transportation drop-offs will be gone.

This means that kids who do not go home right after school and instead go to daycares will not be getting a ride on Lee County buses.

Best guess? About 1,800 students.

That’s based on how many students took the bus to a daycare after school.

Dropping kids off at a daycare is a helpful option for parents working full-time, but now that option is off the table.

Leticia Mendoza is a Fort Myers mom who suddenly has a huge problem to solve.

“I work out of the county,” Mendoza said. “I work two hours away, so yeah, it’s kind of unfortunate. So, I don’t know what I’m gonna do.”

Lee County schools spokesperson Rob Spicker said that the district adopted the new after-school bus policy because the district doesn’t have enough drivers. As as a result, too many kids are getting to and from school late in the first place.

Spicker said the issue was only going to get worse if the district did not address it, but parents say the “solution” is not a solution, and daycare operators agree.

“The daycare itself, we’re losing a lot of kids that have been here since they were babies,” said Gabriela Rubio, Fantasy World Academy daycare secretary. “It’s bonds that we’ve created. It’s people, like parents. We’ve created a special bond with them, and seeing them just not be able to be here for those extra years, that they were last year, it’s affecting us as a whole. It’s affecting our company as a whole.”

With many kids coming from Lee County schools, Rubio said that Fantasy World Academy is not sure what this might mean for the daycare’s future.

One solution the district is offering to parents is a before and after school care program at each elementary school.

Daycares hope something can be done before the first day of school. In the meantime, they’re seeking options like private transportation. Though, that will come at an extra cost to parents.

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