Bellevue child care center to close after 20 years in business

BELLEVUE - After reaching its 20th anniversary this year, Tiny Town Child Care Center in Bellevue will close June 9, becoming yet another casualty of industrywide staffing shortages.

Families were notified of the upcoming closure earlier this week.

While Tiny Town's owner Carolee Lasecki did not disclose how many children currently attend the center, Tiny Town can serve a maximum of 100 children based on its current license, she said. It had programming for infants through age 12 and is also a 4K site.

"We're heartbroken," Lasecki said. "It's a sad thing for all of our staff and families this week."

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Lasecki said staffing shortages are behind her tough decision to close Tiny Town, and it is not alone in such struggles. A fall 2022 National Association for the Education of Young Children survey revealed over 60% of responding Wisconsin child care businesses reported being short staffed. The profession is up against a turnover rate of over 40%, noted a fact sheet from Raising Wisconsin, the advocacy arm of the Wisconsin Early Childhood Association.

Because child care centers have child-to-staff ratio requirements, short staffing often leads to centers serving fewer children.

Staffing shortages shuttered Tiny Town's Suamico doors in June 2021, Lasecki said.

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Laskecki and her husband built Tiny Town's Bellevue location, 2563 Development Drive — which is now for sale or lease — in 2003, with only one student enrolled when it first opened, she said. Laskecki's three children, now teenagers, attended Tiny Town when they were younger.

"I've enjoyed all 20 years," Laskecki said. "I think (all the kids who attended the center) have many memories of coming to Tiny Town."

Parents and guardians in the Green Bay area can contact Family and Child Care Resources of Northeast Wisconsin at 920-432-8899 for help exploring child care options.

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Madison Lammert covers child care and early education across Wisconsin as a Report for America corps member based at The Appleton Post-Crescent. To contact her, email or call 920-993-7108. Please consider supporting journalism that informs our democracy with a tax-deductible gift to Report for America.

This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press-Gazette: Tiny Town Child Care Center in Bellevue to close