FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) Standing at the corner of Lafayette Street and Rudisill Boulevard, Andrenette Montgomery does something she’s never done before: asking the community for donations so she can buy a bus for her daycare center.
Staff members with All God’s Children are raising money to buy their own bus following an announcement that Fort Wayne Community Schools is eliminating bus service to dozens of child care centers in the city.
Montgomery is a visibly passionate person. During her interview, without missing a beat she’s able to walk in the street to collect change from the cars passing by, say thank you, and then continue on talking about this bus.
At All God’s Children, 15 FWCS buses take students to and from school daily.
“We have 22 students that ride the school bus and we were just told a couple days ago that no school buses will come to the center at all,” Owner and Director of All God’s Children Andrenette Montgomery said.
“That’s half of our students that ride the school bus, so that means either I’m going to have to terminate my program with the big budget cuts, because that’s a big portion of my budget, or lay people off, or try to figure out something else.”
But for Montgomery, none of those were good enough options. She knew there was only one solution left.
“Or I come out here like I am and try to get a school bus,” Montgomery said.
In January, FWCS passed a transportation plan to address state property tax caps, which limited the amount of money made available for the transportation budget. The new plan, which takes effect in the 2015- 2016 school year, will follow a No Transportation Zone (NTZ) policy eliminating transportation to and from daycare facilities.
FWCS spokesperson Krista Stockman told NewsChannel 15 earlier in the week that the school district serves about 150 day cares. “There are probably a lot more we don’t know we serve. So you can imagine the logistical nightmare it becomes. Sometimes kids will leave their home on a bus to get to a school and then in the afternoon they’ll be transported by bus to a daycare. So that won’t happen anymore. It’ll all be based on home address only,” Stockman said.
Montgomery has been in business for 17 years. There are 42 children enrolled at her center located at 2811 McCormick Ave. She said this job is what she was designed to be doing. At first when she thought about raising money for the bus, Montgomery said her pride made her hesitant.
“Pride doesn’t have nothing to do with me taking care of the kids…. We going to get that school bus,” she said. “It’s harsh out here asking people for money, I’ve never done this before so it’s totally different for me.”
Montgomery isn’t just doing it for herself, she said she’s doing it for the staff as well. Some of whom have worked at the daycare for ten years.
All God’s Children is dedicated to getting the bus, later this month they will be selling dinners and doing whatever they need to do to continue on. The center also has a GoFundMe account that people can donate to.
Thanks to a company in Ohio, a bus that usually costs $13,000, they can get for about $3,600. The groups goal is to raise $16,000.