Richardson ISD offering daycare to employees in attempt to attract teachers

As school districts around the state look for ways to recruit and retain teachers and staff Richardson ISD is now offering its employees daycare.

Richardson ISD found that the need among teachers and staff for daycare is extremely high.

The first district-run daycare opened last week, with a second facility slated to open in January.

The Little Mustangs Learning Academy for the J.J. Pearce feeder pattern already has a wait list.

Desiree May, a 5th grade teacher at Terrace Elementary, is one of the 57 Richardson employees who are taking advantage of the program.

"This makes me feel comfortable when I am at school teaching myself," she said.

May says this new Richardson ISD daycare center is the reason she is still teaching in the district.

"I've been commuting for 8 years. When I heard this was available, and he got a spot, that was my 100% decision to stay in RISD," she said.

Kelly Mountjoy, a counselor at Park Hill Junior High, also no longer has to add up the cost of working.

"It's almost like you are working to pay for child care when you are in the private daycare centers," said Mountjoy.

Mountjoy, a mother of four children ages 7, 5, 2 and 6 months, says the Little Eagles Learning Academy is allowing her to stay in her profession by saving about $15,000 a year in child care expenses.

"This was such a Godsend," she said.

Superintendent Tabitha Branum says it's not just the Richardson ISD teachers and staff with children here who are reaping the benefits, it's also the district's 37,000 students.


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Districts across North Texas and the state are continuing to battle a teacher and even principal shortage.

"We need the best of the best if we are going to grow every child every day. This is just one strategy," said Branum.

Case in point: Mountjoy was selected Texas Counselor of the Year.

"She implemented a program that single-handedly in one year closed an access gap for Hispanic and African American students in accessing higher-level courses," said Branum.

The superintendent says the district's work in this area is far from home.

"We have 147 employee families on the waitlist, so we know the demand is there," she said.

Richardson ISD still has 14 teacher vacancies this year. That is down from 110 at this time last year.

Branum says the district's goal is to explore adding two additional day care center so all four of the district's high school feeder patterns will be covered.