Daycare Tuition Spike Leaves Many Families with Tough Decisions

BENTONVILLE, Ark. - The spike in cost of childcare at one Bentonville center forcing many families to make a tough choice.

The popular daycare, Helen Walton Enrichment Children's Center, said the reason it's increasing the price per child is to cater to families with lower incomes.

One Bentonville mom, Heidi Daniels, said because of the switch she had to break the news to her daughters that they won't be going to the center anymore.

"She said she didn't want to move daycare, she'll miss her friends and her teachers. She loves Mrs.Kandice," said Daniels.

For London and Kennedy Daniels, the center is all they've ever known.

"They make great friends, they have really great teachers that work really hard," said Daniels.

But now Heidi is preparing them for big change.

"I have had to make the hard choice that I'm pulling my children out," said Daniels.

This week, the center announced it will stop using operating grants that offset tution for all families regardless of household income.

"It doesn't matter income level, we all want quality education," said Daniels.

The center said it costs $335 per child to attend. But operating grants allowed some families to pay less.

From now on, the daycare will only provide that reduced tuition to those who need it most. It said 110 families will get the discount.

"No matter what, the people that are going to be impacted the most are the kids that have to leave the facility," said Daniels.

We reached out to the center, and they released a statement that said in part "Tuition sustains our high quality teaching and programs. Going forward, donor dollars will be used to subsidize weekly tuition, and will go to families who need it most. The new tuition model allows us to serve a wider cross-section of our community and ensure that those with greatest need receive tuition subsidy."

But for families like the Daniels who aren't prepared to pay the full amount, they're parting ways.

"I would prefer that they stay. It's a great facility. But I just can't pay the prices that they're asking for," said Daniels.

The daycare said the new model goes into effect next April, to gives families time to make adjustments.


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