Nonprofit suddenly cancels after-school child care at some Dallas schools

Parents at some Dallas ISD schools are scrambling to find after-school child care after the company contracted to provide it suddenly stopped.

The non-profit that runs the canceled program is apologizing. The school district says it empathizes with families affected. But the bottom line is that school starts on Tuesday and as many as two dozen families at Gooch Elementary and at Preston Hollow are frustrated and angry.

The parents at Preston Hollow Elementary say they’ve been paying $60 a week to a non-profit called Camp Fire for after-school care because they make too much money to qualify for the school’s free program.

Erin Risner, a spokeswoman for Camp Fire said that they are apologizing for the late notice and are sorry to put the parents in that situation. However, she says the program needed a minimum enrollment of 20 students at each school and had become unsustainable without it.

Carlos Sotello says he’s going to have to leave work early Tuesday to pick up his son.

“Take him back to the office for an hour or two or call it a day at three o’clock,” Sotello said. “Unfortunately, I don’t know how long I can do that.”

Maggie Dacres has asked a friend to pick up her daughter and drop her off at her mother’s place.

“Then I have to pick her up from my mom’s house,” she said. “That’s what I have right now.”

Earlier Monday, FOX 4 was told an assistant principal at Preston Hollow would meet outside where her truck was parked to talk about the situation. About 45 minutes later, the assistant principal got in her truck and turned around on a one-way driveway and left to avoid talking to reporters.

Robyn Harris, a spokeswoman for DISD, said that “parents are not getting a fair shake” from Camp Fire. She said that Camp Fire closed the program on a moment’s notice and without informing DISD prior to doing so.

Harris said that parents at Gooch Elementary are facing the same dilemma after Camp Fire abruptly ended the program there. She couldn’t say exactly how many families are affected.

Courtney Porter has a third-grade boy at Preston Hollow and is out of options.

“The latest is 3:15 to pick them up, and I get out of work at 3:30,” she said. “Honestly, I was going to have him wait outside until I’m able to get here. Because I have to work and I don’t have another option right now.”

Harris says there is another after-school program the displaced families could qualify for, but it’s at capacity. She says Preston Hollow is still trying to find other after school options for the affected families.