Belleville day care to close at end of month; families left searching for alternative

On Dec.27, La Petite Academy of Belleville is closing its doors.

The Academy director sent a letter to families last Thursday stating, “The company has decided not to renew the lease to the building.”

One parent who wanted to remain anonymous said when she received the letter, she felt that it was “a punch in the gut. It feels like La Petite doesn’t really care about Belleville.”

This parent said she has her doubts about the reason they’re closing being due to a lease renewal.

“We knew there had been some issues keeping staff and that there had been some issues with the facility,” the parent said.

According to a Wisconsin Department of Children and Families report, this day care has faced numerous violations in the past. Some include not reporting injuries to children, not reporting water damage, parts of the center being in disrepair, failure to report when an employee was involved in an incident that caused harm to a child and others.

In a statement, a La Petite Academy spokesperson said, “We conducted a comprehensive assessment and explored every option in the hope of resolving our business challenges at this school. Despite these efforts, we weren’t able to find a viable solution that would enable us to continue to operate at this location.”

In a letter sent to parents, the Belleville day care provided a list of other La Petite Academy locations for all the families who are impacted by their closure to consider being transferred to.

But for the parent who spoke out about this, many of the options aren’t close enough or within budget.

“There’s literally nowhere other than me driving way out of my way,” she said. “The combined rates for both of my children is more than what I’m bringing home.”

The only other day care option in Belleville is just down the road at the Belleville Early Learning Center.

In a Facebook post, they wrote, “Our enrollment is already full. But we will be able to help most families. Please call us to discuss what our plan is and to get put on a list. We will do the best we can but plan on finding alternative care past the 27th.”

Belleville Early Learning Center’s owner Alyssa Kriebs said since the Academy announced it will be closing, she’s been swamped with requests from families who are trying to switch to her day care services.

“Everyone is kind of scrambling to figure out what they should do,” Kriebs said. “Some are just on waiting lists. Right now we are able to get in three families.”

Right now, more than 20 families are looking for a place to send their child.

“It puts a lot of pressure on everyone,” Kriebs said.

Kriebs added that the families will likely be on wait lists for a couple months while they work through staffing shortages.

“Until we kind of get that organized, it kind of puts a burden on when we can get new kids in here,” Kriebs said. “I definitely feel sorry for all the families that were affected.”

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