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Old 01-20-2016, 08:33 PM
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Default Typical Latchkey Payment Schedule?

I recently moved homes with my two boys that just turned 7 and 8 and started at their new school in 1st and 2nd grade at the start of the school year.

In this new school, I signed them up for latchkey, because I'm a single dad and have little other choice really. Where I lived previously, the school provided latchkey was pretty flexible, requested an expected regular schedule and charged by the 0.1 hours. They just wanted a schedule to get an idea when your kids would be there, and if kids weren't there time to time you didn't pay. If you were outside your signed up schedule regularly then they might address it with you, but were pretty flexible.

This new school latchkey program requires you to schedule and pay for a full month ahead of time. My schedule was such that I could pick my kids up around the time they got out of school on my way home from work, sometimes I could make it before the bell, other times not. But regardless whether they checked in or not I was charged for the day.

Additionally I pay for their after school snack as well, and sometimes they don't take it, but still am charged.

Is this typical? I've never heard of such a thing where you have to schedule and pay a full month ahead of time. And also where there's zero credit or even partial reimbursement. The other parents I knew from our old home and their daycare experiences were nothing like this either.

It feels like a scam really. I can understand wanting a schedule, but not fully payment a full month ahead. And honestly, it's always the same four ladies watching the kids, there's always 15-20 kids in the room, and it's not like they provide any special activities for them just run around the gym and play. Not only that, a full month payment ahead of time seems harsh too. Anything could happen in that month. Why should I be punished because things change? A week ahead I can understand, but a month?

And that's what happened to us unforutnately too. My son has been chronically sick and has not been attending school for the last month and a half. He's being homeschooled by his grandmother (my mom) who is not very mobile and is recovering from a broken pelvis. But I've paid the last month and a half and the "latchkey" won't budge with any credit or reimbursement.

I'm not too well versed on laws, but it seems that if you pay for a service you never received, borders on the side of illegal to me, regardless of what it says in a contract, especially considering this has added up to hundreds of dollars already.

Thoughts?

Thanks.
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Old 01-20-2016, 09:04 PM
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I know it is frustrating but yes it is typical. My child is in a similar program. The program has to pay staff based on the expected number of children. They don't know if you or any other parent will actually bring their child but have to have staff working to cover the required adult/child ratios before hand. Snack is the same way regardless if your children attend or don't, they need to buy the food/items/drinks ahead of time based on the expected enrollment.
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Old 01-20-2016, 09:21 PM
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I don't know what latchkey program is, but it is very common in my area to pay in full for the month in advance if you use it or not.

my program is the same.

most programs have a max capacity of kids they can take each day.

mine is 14 and I depend on funding for the full 14 daily so that I can afford the overheard of our program.

employees and insurance and food are some of the biggest ones I can think of off the top of my head. I have to pay for those if your child is here or not. so if I let everyone pay only when they came, i could not forecast a monthly budget and would never be able to pay my over head. frankly I would be out of business very fast if I didn't have this type of payment program.

It like renting a house. if you are gone for 3 weeks and don't use the house, you still have to pay for the full month. no one is going to say you only used it 1 week so that's all you pay. the house was avilable to you all month long and you could have come back to it at any time you wanted, so no matter what you pay the full month of rent.

does that make sense?
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Old 01-20-2016, 09:22 PM
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I understand that to a point, but one month ahead is extreme. I understand a week. But like I said, they have the same staff every day of the week. I've never seen more or less of the same people. I've seen days where there's 40 kids and days where there's 10 kids, but same 4 caregivers.

The snacks are not perishable, usually choice of chips, granola bar, single packaged cereal and juice box, water, or milk. Not like they need to buy a month's worth ahead of time or fruits and veggies that go bad.

Just odd how my experience 60 miles on the other side of town was exact opposite. I guess I'm not used to paying for services or things I haven't received. It's like paying for $200 worth of electric bill ahead of time every month when you've used significantly less and can't get any credit for following months.
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Old 01-20-2016, 09:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daycare View Post
I don't know what latchkey program is, but it is very common in my area to pay in full for the month in advance if you use it or not.

my program is the same.

most programs have a max capacity of kids they can take each day.

mine is 14 and I depend on funding for the full 14 daily so that I can afford the overheard of our program.

employees and insurance and food are some of the biggest ones I can think of off the top of my head. I have to pay for those if your child is here or not. so if I let everyone pay only when they came, i could not forecast a monthly budget and would never be able to pay my over head. frankly I would be out of business very fast if I didn't have this type of payment program.

It like renting a house. if you are gone for 3 weeks and don't use the house, you still have to pay for the full month. no one is going to say you only used it 1 week so that's all you pay. the house was avilable to you all month long and you could have come back to it at any time you wanted, so no matter what you pay the full month of rent.

does that make sense?
Latchkey is generic term for after school care, usually provided by the school.

What you say does make sense to a point, but you also can build in some buffer, or limited credit. I mean life happens. If I don't go to work I don't get paid, but I guess if I hire someone to do a job, and they don't do it, I still have to pay them? I mean doctors and skilled trades do have cancellation charges, and I get that, but it's usually never the full cost of the service they would provide.

This is leaving a horribly bitter taste in my mouth with daycare and am rapidly looking to get someone to watch my kids at home with bus after school. And since my mother has moved in with me, will make it better, although she's not real mobile, but at least can watch kids for 30-60 minutes after school.

Daycare is a necessary evil for working parents, and most wouldn't do it if they didn't have to because of these kinds of issues. I am realizing this is more a site for daycare workers not necessarily parents, so I'll just leave it alone. But as a parent I can say from others I talk to they aren't happy with it much either, but are stuck with it, and latchkey doesn't care because they get their money regardless.
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Old 01-21-2016, 04:04 AM
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Keep in mind, if you are working with a school program the people you see usually aren't "the powers that be" and have no real control over things. It's generally a corporation thing and you have to play by their rules. I hope you find a program that better suits your needs soon and keep in mind, not everywhere has the kind of care you are describing. It's actually a pretty nice option for you.
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Old 01-21-2016, 04:43 AM
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That's how the program here runs as well. Not only that, but if you sign your child up in January for the after school program, you have to pay for September- December even though you didn't use those months.

But I would find out who the higher ups are and write to them. I doubt they'll make changes because it's probably the way they've always done it, but it may help.

I would also be researching other after care options - this may mean your kids taking a bus or walking to a place after school. But that's the trade off.
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Old 01-21-2016, 04:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SingleDaddyof2 View Post
I understand that to a point, but one month ahead is extreme. I understand a week. But like I said, they have the same staff every day of the week. I've never seen more or less of the same people. I've seen days where there's 40 kids and days where there's 10 kids, but same 4 caregivers.

The snacks are not perishable, usually choice of chips, granola bar, single packaged cereal and juice box, water, or milk. Not like they need to buy a month's worth ahead of time or fruits and veggies that go bad.

Just odd how my experience 60 miles on the other side of town was exact opposite. I guess I'm not used to paying for services or things I haven't received. It's like paying for $200 worth of electric bill ahead of time every month when you've used significantly less and can't get any credit for following months.
See in my neighborhood that is exactly what happens with water/sewer; I pay a minimum set amount regardless of whether or not I use it all (most months I don't even with 4 babes in care). I pay that regardless if your child comes just like insurance & in my case the food is perishable because I cook fresh. BTW, I am a small home childcare & yes, my parents all pay a full month in advance. I am limited to 4 children and it's not like I can take someone last minute to fill the space if you don't show. I have overhead just like schools & centers just a smaller scale and I break even if I am lucky.

BTW the school has to pay those 4 caregivers at least minimum wage regardless of # kids attending, just like insurance, maybe even space rental fee - as it was said, the program has to plan in advance how many kids "might" be in attendance - if you don't come, again it's not like they can fill the space last minute
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Old 01-21-2016, 06:33 AM
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Well I don't know much about school programs, but I know that my program, ALL kiddos all day kiddos and after school kiddos pay their weekly tuition regardless of attendance. I had one family of three children who were not here for two weeks over Christmas. I was open, and they were required to pay for the spots. Now I do have a little bit of freedom since I am running my own business, I have not charged her the extra fee for her school age kiddos on a day they had no school for weather. So in my program it usually balances out. I, like you need to be able to plan how I will pay my bills and buy groceries, because I have to have those things for the kids.

Your program also has to be ready to give a snack to your kids, because they MAY be there. They also have to have enough staff to keep their program in ratio at all times because your kids MAY be there. If they do not pay to have the staff there and your kids show up, there is a huge issue. They wouldn't be able to keep your kids even for one minute.

As far as paying monthly, as PP said, it is coming from higher up the people you see every day are likely powerless over that. You could make some calls they may or may not work with you. Likely they have had issues getting payment in the past and have found this is the best way to insure payment.
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Old 01-21-2016, 06:50 AM
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Our after school program operates the exact same way as OP stated.

They require a schedule a month in advance to ensure there is enough staff present to meet the state required ratios.

They charge a month in advance because typically offering care for such a small amount of time after school is really not all that cost effective and it just makes financial sense for them to have once a month billing verses having to hire additional staff to do all the paperwork of a smaller billing cycle.

In my opinion, those families that use the LEAST amount of care with the most VARIABLE schedules are THE HARDEST to accommodate or make any consistent money off of so in that regard families that fall into those categories pay the HIGHEST rates because like the concept of convenience stores, you pay more for CONVENIENCE.

That is a very common strategy for almost all areas of service providers.
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Old 01-21-2016, 07:31 AM
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You may qualify to get help paying for tuition since you are single with two children. Have you looked into that?
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Old 01-21-2016, 08:56 AM
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Perfectly normal set up. My kid was in a program like that eight years ago and it was set up EXACTLY the same. Month up front and no discount for any reason.

You are paying for his ability to go not his attendance. They can't make money if they give discounts when life happens.

My kids program was the biggest money maker for the district when he attended. They had a one adult to fifteen kid ratio and didn't do ANY activities with them. They let them bring hand held devices and took them to the library where there was a bank of computers. They wisely didn't take them out to the FOUR acre playground until the last twenty minutes of the day. That meant a few kids left and they could get in the parents car and leave instead of having parents come into the building.

They also only had to have one adult over the age of 18 onsite so it was staffed with minimum wage teens who were on their phones and devices.
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Old 01-21-2016, 08:58 AM
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The school program here is $5 an hour, whether you use it or mot, for 1 minute or all 60. You pay 2 weeks in advance.
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Old 01-21-2016, 09:28 AM
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They do the same here as far as paying in advance and whether you attend or not.

If it's not meeting your needs, it might make sense for you to look around for other alternatives that you like better.
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Old 01-21-2016, 09:52 AM
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We have the same program here too. As Nanny said, you are paying for the SPOT, not for the care of your child. If you don't want to pay, you lose the spot and won't have the option to have your child attend on the days you need. It is highly sought after here, because we have smaller programs, so if you get a spot, you pay and keep it, regardless of you will use it everyday
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Old 01-21-2016, 10:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nannyde View Post
Perfectly normal set up. My kid was in a program like that eight years ago and it was set up EXACTLY the same. Month up front and no discount for any reason.

You are paying for his ability to go not his attendance. They can't make money if they give discounts when life happens.

My kids program was the biggest money maker for the district when he attended. They had a one adult to fifteen kid ratio and didn't do ANY activities with them. They let them bring hand held devices and took them to the library where there was a bank of computers. They wisely didn't take them out to the FOUR acre playground until the last twenty minutes of the day. That meant a few kids left and they could get in the parents car and leave instead of having parents come into the building.

They also only had to have one adult over the age of 18 onsite so it was staffed with minimum wage teens who were on their phones and devices.
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Old 01-21-2016, 10:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SingleDaddyof2 View Post
I recently moved homes with my two boys that just turned 7 and 8 and started at their new school in 1st and 2nd grade at the start of the school year.

In this new school, I signed them up for latchkey, because I'm a single dad and have little other choice really. Where I lived previously, the school provided latchkey was pretty flexible, requested an expected regular schedule and charged by the 0.1 hours. They just wanted a schedule to get an idea when your kids would be there, and if kids weren't there time to time you didn't pay. If you were outside your signed up schedule regularly then they might address it with you, but were pretty flexible.

This new school latchkey program requires you to schedule and pay for a full month ahead of time. My schedule was such that I could pick my kids up around the time they got out of school on my way home from work, sometimes I could make it before the bell, other times not. But regardless whether they checked in or not I was charged for the day.

Additionally I pay for their after school snack as well, and sometimes they don't take it, but still am charged.

Is this typical? I've never heard of such a thing where you have to schedule and pay a full month ahead of time. And also where there's zero credit or even partial reimbursement. The other parents I knew from our old home and their daycare experiences were nothing like this either.

It feels like a scam really. I can understand wanting a schedule, but not fully payment a full month ahead. And honestly, it's always the same four ladies watching the kids, there's always 15-20 kids in the room, and it's not like they provide any special activities for them just run around the gym and play. Not only that, a full month payment ahead of time seems harsh too. Anything could happen in that month. Why should I be punished because things change? A week ahead I can understand, but a month?

And that's what happened to us unforutnately too. My son has been chronically sick and has not been attending school for the last month and a half. He's being homeschooled by his grandmother (my mom) who is not very mobile and is recovering from a broken pelvis. But I've paid the last month and a half and the "latchkey" won't budge with any credit or reimbursement.

I'm not too well versed on laws, but it seems that if you pay for a service you never received, borders on the side of illegal to me, regardless of what it says in a contract, especially considering this has added up to hundreds of dollars already.

Thoughts?

Thanks.
I charge weekly unless they don't provide ssn and drivers license then I charge monthly (4 weeks). I also have a 4 week termination requirement.
Since I'm limited on how many children I can have I charge for a spot not for attendance. Thus no reimbursement. Otherwise I'd never know how much I would make.

I have these rules so I can take care of my bills and family. How would you feel if you didn't know if you would get paid 2 weeks from now but you didn't even know until your check didn't show the week of?

That's like almost losing your job constantly!

I didn't understand any of this until I became a provider, fyi. My old daycare provider wouldn't charge if I didn't show. She went out of biz.
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Old 01-21-2016, 10:44 AM
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I am curious OP. Does this program include all day care on weather closure days?

What backup do you use if they don't?
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