Daycare rides to cost Williamstown parents

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By Bryan Marshall

Parents of Williamstown Elementary students who have relied on school bus transportation to and from out-of-district daycares soon will have to pay.

For years, the school district has taken students from Kiddie College and Mom’s Christian Daycare (formerly New Discovery South) in Dry Ridge free of charge.

However, when Superintendent Sally Skinner began looking into the liability issue surrounding transporting out-of-district students, another problem was discovered.

“In doing the research, I found out that you cannot use public funds to subsidize a private daycare business,” she said at the August school board meeting. “If we’re going to continue to provide transportation, in order to be compliant with the constitution of Kentucky, we’re going to have to charge a reimbursement fee for providing that service.”

Kiddie College on Main Street has 13 children who ride the bus to Williamstown while Mom’s Christian Daycare has five.

The school board discussed eliminating the service, but ultimately decided to continue providing the transportation while charging a reimbursement fee and having parents sign a liability waiver.

The amount of the fee, along with any other details, will be ironed out by a committee that will draft a policy to be voted on by the school board in September.

The fee would be charged retroactively from the first day of school.

“You talk about the driver’s time, his insurance, wear and tear on the bus, fuel mileage and so forth,” Ed Gabbert, director of transportation for WIlliamstown Schools said about how to calculate the fee. “I don’t mind going anywhere. You tell me where to go and I’ll get you there to the best of the my ability. That’s the service we provide.”

A quick, informal calculation at the meeting suggested the fee could be in the $2 to $5 weekly range per child.

Randy Rosensteel, whose daughter starts kindergarten this year and goes to Kiddie College, expressed to the board the importance of the service.

“She’s been going there since birth and I put my trust in that place,” he said. “I’d really hate to think that I’d have to send her to another daycare in just a couple’s days notice or might have to send her to a Grant County elementary where she can hop a bus to my wife. It’s put a hinderance on us.”

The issue will be discussed at the Sept. 14 board meeting.