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  #1  
Old 07-21-2012, 01:28 PM
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Default Parents Forgetting Field Trip Fees

I never have any trouble with parents forgetting to bring in field trip fees. We average 2 - 4 field trips a week and I try to keep it down to just one field per week that costs the parents. The costs range from $1 - $7.00 for each child. Very, very rarely have I had parents forget while dropping off their kids but they run back to their car or house and get it before work. I also have a few parents pay all of our field trip fees at the beginning of each month so they don't forget or worry about forgetting.

Since the start of last month, I've had one particular parent drop the ball on remembering. I send home monthly newsletters with field trip dates and I have a calendar with our field trips taped to the front door. It's the first thing parent see each morning at drop-off. These past two weeks we took a trip to a splash park and to the movies. Each trip cost just $1. Both times this particular parent forgot to bring the money and I ended up paying for the child. I repeatedly asked the parent to bring the money and they finally paid $1 this past Friday and still owe the other $1.

Now, I don't want to make a huge deal out of $1 But, I don't want to enable this parent to keep forgetting when they KNOW I'll just foot the bill. What if we have two field trips that cost $7.00 each? That's $14 out of my own pocket and I'm not okay with waiting two weeks to be paid back.
I can't add it to their weekly tuition because we use childcarepay.com and all my parents are signed up for auto-pay.

Do you think I'd be a horrible person by not allowing this child to participate on our next field trip if the parents don't bring the money? We are headed to an indoor jumping arena and one of my assistants stays back with our babies who cannot participate on certain field trips. So, she would have somewhere to stay. I'm thinking of writing on her daily report that 'Sally' was really bummed that she couldn't join in on our field trip today. Maybe seeing their that their child missed an exciting activity will help them remember.

Opinions?

TIA!
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Old 07-21-2012, 01:40 PM
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IMHO, yes, it would be wrong to make the child sit out because the parent didn't pay.

I would text the parent the night before reminding them. I would say something like - Don't forget, tomorrow is water park day, the fee is $1 and I'm sure Susie would like to join the others.

I rarely charge the parents for field trips. I did have one parent offer to pay for the whale watching tour on Monday, but he's the only one that has to pay. The others are free.
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Old 07-21-2012, 02:12 PM
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You should remind the parent the day before.
But it is not your responsability to pay for the kid. so of course he should be left behind.
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Old 07-21-2012, 02:19 PM
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Originally Posted by sharlan View Post
IMHO, yes, it would be wrong to make the child sit out because the parent didn't pay.

I would text the parent the night before reminding them. I would say something like - Don't forget, tomorrow is water park day, the fee is $1 and I'm sure Susie would like to join the others.

I rarely charge the parents for field trips. I did have one parent offer to pay for the whale watching tour on Monday, but he's the only one that has to pay. The others are free.
I hate it, but it has to be done sometimes.

We have 25 2-5 year olds, who all participate in basically the same field trips/activities. We try to pick activities that are free, but hey, some of them aren't.

We had about half not pay for the last field trip we took on Thursday. We absorbed the costs for the non-payers for the first two pay-for activities this summer, and we decided we couldn't keep doing it. And it wasn't fair to the other families who did pay, and it wasn't fair to cancel it.

So the ten or so kids whose parents just refuse to pay, they had to stay back. It was just a regular day for them. I felt bad, and I did tell the kids who did go to keep the convo's about to themselves.

But if some parents can scrape up the money for their kid to enjoy the summer, then the rest of them can. Even if they said "hey, I can only afford to pay half the activity fee" that's okay. But to just assume that someone else is going to pay for your kid is wrong, and to just not care if your kid has to sit out all the time is worse. Mind you these are all state-pay families, with no copay. I'm sorry but this really bothers me.
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Old 07-21-2012, 02:26 PM
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Hunni, I do understand where you are coming from. It would be unrealistic for a center to pay for everybody. And, I do understand that some subsidized parents feel that everything should be free and everyone else should foot the bill for their child.

I'll change my answer to say, talk to the parent and tell them that their child will not be able to attend any more outings unless they pay in advance.

I still think it's wrong to make the child stay home over a couple of dollars, though.
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Old 07-21-2012, 02:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by queenbee View Post
I never have any trouble with parents forgetting to bring in field trip fees. We average 2 - 4 field trips a week and I try to keep it down to just one field per week that costs the parents. The costs range from $1 - $7.00 for each child. Very, very rarely have I had parents forget while dropping off their kids but they run back to their car or house and get it before work. I also have a few parents pay all of our field trip fees at the beginning of each month so they don't forget or worry about forgetting.

Since the start of last month, I've had one particular parent drop the ball on remembering. I send home monthly newsletters with field trip dates and I have a calendar with our field trips taped to the front door. It's the first thing parent see each morning at drop-off. These past two weeks we took a trip to a splash park and to the movies. Each trip cost just $1. Both times this particular parent forgot to bring the money and I ended up paying for the child. I repeatedly asked the parent to bring the money and they finally paid $1 this past Friday and still owe the other $1.

Now, I don't want to make a huge deal out of $1 But, I don't want to enable this parent to keep forgetting when they KNOW I'll just foot the bill. What if we have two field trips that cost $7.00 each? That's $14 out of my own pocket and I'm not okay with waiting two weeks to be paid back.
I can't add it to their weekly tuition because we use childcarepay.com and all my parents are signed up for auto-pay.

Do you think I'd be a horrible person by not allowing this child to participate on our next field trip if the parents don't bring the money? We are headed to an indoor jumping arena and one of my assistants stays back with our babies who cannot participate on certain field trips. So, she would have somewhere to stay. I'm thinking of writing on her daily report that 'Sally' was really bummed that she couldn't join in on our field trip today. Maybe seeing their that their child missed an exciting activity will help them remember.

Opinions?

TIA!
I totally understand where you are coming from!

If it were me in this situation I would hold the child back. Yes it's only a few dollars here and there but those dollars add up. I have said it before. You give parents an inch and they will take a yard.

It's just a shame that the children have to suffer because of irresponsible parents.
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Old 07-21-2012, 03:11 PM
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At the center we did one of 2 things:

1. Write a notice and physically hand it to the parent. We did this the day before the field trip and it said "as of *date* payment has not been made for *activity*. Please pay for *activity* no later than pick up time today if you would like your child to attend *activity* on *date*. Please be aware that non-payment will result in *child* not being able to participate in *activity*." No payment = no participation.

2. If we couldn't keep the child back because it was a whole school activity we would write a notice stating that if payment was not made, we would not be able to provide care for the child either that day OR during the hours we were gone for the field trip.
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Old 07-21-2012, 07:24 PM
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I would pay for the child myself, charge the parent the field trip fee to be paid on their next weekly payment as well as an extra fee for forgetting to send it before hand....some sort of add on as an "inconvenience fee" at $5 or $10. whatever will get their attention but not punish the child.
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Old 07-22-2012, 11:21 AM
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I would not wait until the day of the trip to collect the $. Give them a deadline at least a few days before and let them know their child will not be able to come if it is not turned in by then.
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Old 07-22-2012, 12:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trummynme View Post
At the center we did one of 2 things:

1. Write a notice and physically hand it to the parent. We did this the day before the field trip and it said "as of *date* payment has not been made for *activity*. Please pay for *activity* no later than pick up time today if you would like your child to attend *activity* on *date*. Please be aware that non-payment will result in *child* not being able to participate in *activity*." No payment = no participation.

2. If we couldn't keep the child back because it was a whole school activity we would write a notice stating that if payment was not made, we would not be able to provide care for the child either that day OR during the hours we were gone for the field trip.
This is exactly what I do. I won't exclude, as I don't have an assistant and cannot hold them back. BUT they can't attend that day.

If so many of your families are really struggling with the field trip $, maybe limit costlier trips to once/month. I did a children's museum (the cost was $17/kid) my kids were free because we have a membership, and I gave everyone four weeks notice and some parents were still upset about the cost.
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Old 07-22-2012, 04:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cheerfuldom View Post
I would pay for the child myself, charge the parent the field trip fee to be paid on their next weekly payment as well as an extra fee for forgetting to send it before hand....some sort of add on as an "inconvenience fee" at $5 or $10. whatever will get their attention but not punish the child.
All my parents pay with auto-pay on childcarepay.com so I would have to cancel autopay, fix the amount, set up autopay again and then the parents would have to approve it. I do not have the time for this each week nor do I want to.

@ daycarediva - this family is not struggling for money. They have very nice jobs and it's only recently have they had problems remembering to pay. I only enroll families who are absolutely sure they can afford the cost of field trips each month. We are an active daycare.

I'm sorry, but I do not understand how an adult would forget to bring in field trip fees for their child in my daycare. They get the field trip dates and costs in each month's newsletter, the field trips are posted each Monday on Facebook, they're also posted on the calendar on my parent's page of my website AND there is a calendar on the front door of my daycare. I even post pictures OF the field trip on facebook and they even 'like' each photo their child can be seen it. How much more obvious can I get?

I think I'm going with leaving the child behind if fees aren't brought in on field trip dates. Once, twice - I can understand a parent forgetting. But it's been every week for the past two months and I'm am over it.

Thanks for the replies everyone!
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Old 07-22-2012, 04:02 PM
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im way to nice, i dont charge fees unless they might want something from the gift shop at the zoo
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Old 07-22-2012, 06:35 PM
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Originally Posted by queenbee View Post
All my parents pay with auto-pay on childcarepay.com so I would have to cancel autopay, fix the amount, set up autopay again and then the parents would have to approve it. I do not have the time for this each week nor do I want to.

@ daycarediva - this family is not struggling for money. They have very nice jobs and it's only recently have they had problems remembering to pay. I only enroll families who are absolutely sure they can afford the cost of field trips each month. We are an active daycare.

I'm sorry, but I do not understand how an adult would forget to bring in field trip fees for their child in my daycare. They get the field trip dates and costs in each month's newsletter, the field trips are posted each Monday on Facebook, they're also posted on the calendar on my parent's page of my website AND there is a calendar on the front door of my daycare. I even post pictures OF the field trip on facebook and they even 'like' each photo their child can be seen it. How much more obvious can I get?

I think I'm going with leaving the child behind if fees aren't brought in on field trip dates. Once, twice - I can understand a parent forgetting. But it's been every week for the past two months and I'm am over it.

Thanks for the replies everyone!
I agree with you then. You have accommodated as best as possible and there is only so much you can do with your payment system. We need to stop giving parents excuses for forgetting the most obvious things when they get multiple communications about each trip. There are consequences to every other bill in life that is not paid, so why should daycare be different? They knew about the trips when signing on to your daycare so it sounds like you have communicated well and its time for them to face the consequences. Seeing their kid left behind will hopefully get them in check. Its THEIR fault that their child is not included, not yours.
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Old 07-23-2012, 08:06 AM
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I pay for all the fieldtrips if it costs and then write it off of our taxes. Have you thought of doing that?

Another thing would be to have an "activity" fee set up. Figure like $50 per child, set the money done and draw from it as you go on field trips.
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Old 07-23-2012, 08:52 AM
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Default Solve the problem in advance

You know in advance what your field trips are so simply charge in advance on bill pay, maybe Friday here's your co payment and have the field trip fee already included this would also be nice for all the parents pay in advance and have everything ready some one doesn't pay in advance and they show up that day explain sorry but today the centre is closed and will will be located here from this time to this time and etc that would get their attention that this is what you have to offer and thismis the policy and contract
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Old 07-24-2012, 07:11 AM
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Have you thought about having a special fee for summer field trips? I would have them pay $40 at the beginning of summer and deduct each field trip amount as it comes up. That way they only have to remember the initial fee. If the $40 runs out, then set up another chunk payment.
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Old 07-24-2012, 06:04 PM
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I would just send home a note and tell the parent in person that from now on if they don't bring the field trip fee then their child will not be able to go on the trip. Otherwise you are enabling them to be irresponsible. Then suggest that if they have a hard time remembering they can deposit $20 into their field trip fund and you will deduct the amount and let them know when they need to deposit another $20.00. Then you always have what you need. But I would not keep paying the fee for them.
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Old 07-25-2012, 02:43 AM
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Are these fees in your contract, or you just add them based on when you decide to do trips.

Honestly, if you are asking $1 - $7 each time, is it possible they are feeling nickeled & dimed. It happened once at my ds's daycare, she asked us for $2 to cover a trip. I gave it, but I thought honestly one time in the year she is doing this, all the money I pay her she needs another 2 bucks?

I would probably figure out how much the trips cost me, how much of the cost I was willing to bear, and re-write the contract to include a trip fee. Ds's aftercare this year included a party fee (it was about $20 for the year) which covered the birthday party she throws them, plus other special parties she does in the year. I would rather just pay it one time then be asked for 2 dollars every week. Here it is standard to ask a supply fee once or twice a year (I get from my parents approx. $75 / year, half in the fall, half in the spring). IMO it makes a lot more sense then saying "I want to do a neat art project, can you send me a buck?"

I also wouldn't keep a child back because the mother didn't pay.
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Old 07-25-2012, 08:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Rachel View Post
Are these fees in your contract, or you just add them based on when you decide to do trips.

Honestly, if you are asking $1 - $7 each time, is it possible they are feeling nickeled & dimed. It happened once at my ds's daycare, she asked us for $2 to cover a trip. I gave it, but I thought honestly one time in the year she is doing this, all the money I pay her she needs another 2 bucks?

I would probably figure out how much the trips cost me, how much of the cost I was willing to bear, and re-write the contract to include a trip fee. Ds's aftercare this year included a party fee (it was about $20 for the year) which covered the birthday party she throws them, plus other special parties she does in the year. I would rather just pay it one time then be asked for 2 dollars every week. Here it is standard to ask a supply fee once or twice a year (I get from my parents approx. $75 / year, half in the fall, half in the spring). IMO it makes a lot more sense then saying "I want to do a neat art project, can you send me a buck?"

I also wouldn't keep a child back because the mother didn't pay.
Fees are payed for by parents and yes, it's in my contract.

Paying for fees myself would be impossible. I have 16 kids for the summer and if a field trip cost $7, that's $112 out of my own pocket.

I don't make THAT much money
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Old 07-25-2012, 09:00 AM
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I can see it from both sides. Its really more the principal of the matter in this case.
You could put a notice out that as of this date all field trip fees must be paid for by the first of the month or something like that then further it by saying failure to pay will result in the your child having to miss out on the field trip. Some parents just dont get it! There is no easy answer I guess. It is just a dollar here and there.
I bet all it would take it one time of there child having to stay back and they will understand. Good luck.
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Old 07-26-2012, 09:49 AM
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Originally Posted by queenbee View Post
Fees are payed for by parents and yes, it's in my contract.

Paying for fees myself would be impossible. I have 16 kids for the summer and if a field trip cost $7, that's $112 out of my own pocket.

I don't make THAT much money
I didn't say you should pay it, I said maybe institute a fee of $100 per summer, or twice a year, or whatever and budget your trips from there (figure out what you are spending so you cover your entrance fees) and get it that way instead of send in $1 tomorrow and $3 on tuesday and $7 on Friday.
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