North Texas school districts continue looking for ways to improve their teacher retention — Richardson ISD is now offering its staff affordable daycare run by the district.
In 2022, school districts across the country raised concerns over a massive school staff shortage, including bus drivers, instructors and teachers. In an effort to address the issue, several districts came up with plans to retain staff without taking a toll on the budget.
According to Community Impact, in June 2022, Richardson ISD officials announced the construction of four daycare centers that officials expected to become an important tool for retaining teachers. At the same time, officials said at the time that the district could save up to $1.5 million by not having to pay for new teacher training.
“We know we're not going to be able to outpay everybody in our area, but what we can do is try to find ways to give them a real benefit and put them in a place where they feel secure in their children’s care,” said Trustee Megan Timme during a budget meeting that unanimously approved the addition of the daycare centers.
As reported by Fox 4, the first daycare center opened in Aug. 2023, and a second facility is set to open in Jan. 2024.
Kelly Mountjoy, a counselor at Park Hill Junior High and mother of four children ages 7, 5, 2 and 6 months, told CBS News that the daycare will save her family $1,700 a month in childcare costs. Now at the Little Eagle Child Learning Academy in Richardson ISD, she will only have to pay $350 a month.
According to Superintendent Tabitha Branum, the benefits of the program are already showing: currently over 147 employee families are on the waitlist and the district only has 14 positions left to fill, a very different scenario from the same period in 2022, when 110 positions were still vacant.