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Glenwood childcare center losing lease, hopes to pass bond issue to build new facility

Posted at 7:11 PM, Oct 20, 2023

GLENWOOD, Iowa (KMTV) — Parents in Mills County have been telling 3 News Now that they need more childcare options. One of the county’s largest childcare providers, Kids Place, is losing its lease and the school district hopes to pass a bond issue that will allow the school to build a daycare center.

Marti Strand works in Omaha and her two children have gone to Kids Place since they were infants.

“You know, I’ve been really fortunate,” said Strand. “We started childcare here eight years ago and Kids Place has been — I mean, they’re always open. They’re always available. Even through COVID, they were here.”

Operated by the Glenwood Community School District, Kids Place is located on the campus of the Glenwood Resource Center, a state facility for people with disabilities. The State of Iowa is closing the Resource Center next year but has extended the lease for Kids Place another two years. That gives the school district time to build a new facility.

“The bond issue would be covering the construction of the actual physical space and the classrooms,” said Superintendent of Glenwood Schools Dr. Devin Embray.

Parents, he says, would still be covering the operational expenses of the childcare center as they’ve always done.

“I think the biggest pushback would be: ‘Why are the taxpayers paying to build the facility?’ Which is a legitimate question. In terms of why that is: the answer would be, we have changed the landscape in terms of what our parents want and desire to have in a school district. Childcare is one of the main factors for parents to decide whether they’re going to locate within our district,” said Embray.

Bond issue proponents say childcare is critical to economic growth. Glenwood parent, Aaron Schoening, is a banker in another community with two girls at Kids Place. He grew up in the area and recently moved back for greater opportunities for his family.

“When you’re having to take anybody out of the workforce, whether that’s mom or dad, for childcare that’s one less person to take an open job in that community,” said Schoening.

Strand doesn’t want the stress of having to find other daycare options in a county already stretched for childcare.

“I don’t want to pick another daycare,” she said. “I don’t want to have to find another place for my kids to go.”

People interested in learning more about the bond issue can attend community forums on Oct. 26 and Nov. 2 at Northeast Elementary at 6 p.m. or visit Glenwoodschools.org.

RELATED |Malvern leaders take childcare needs into their own hands: 'It’s also an economic development issue'

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