JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Action News Jax is getting answers for a local military mother who said the Duval County School District would not accept her payments for child care.
We sent Action News Jax’s Ben Becker to find out more about a policy leaving some families behind, and he got results.
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Sade Curtis is a mother on a mission. She is full-time active duty National Guard member and works at Camp Blanding, which is nearly 50 miles away from her home in Riverside. That means her two young daughters need to be watched before and after school.
But Curtis told Becker that DCPS is not accepting her payments. Curtis receives a child care subsidy through a 3rd party company used while her existing government job is on hold by our government.
The subsidy is only submitted via check, but Curtis received this email from the district that reads, “We have moved away from receiving any form of paper currency. And we have moved to a process that all payments are to be received online.”
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The district started using an online banking system called Eleyo since the 2021-22 school year. Now, not only aren’t cash or checks being accepted at school locations, but the online system only takes payments by credit card and electronic fund transfers, neither of which are provided by the company Curtis has to use.
“There has to be some kind of way to have people work out something with these programs. I don’t believe the answer is no,” Curtis told Becker.
Becker spoke with local state representative Angie Nixon, and she said, “I hope they rethink their policy as it relates to this.”
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So, Becker got to work and emailed the school district for answers. Nixon said she would be speaking with DCPS thanks to his report.
Now, the district will accept payment in this case adding, “Our online payment process allows us to streamline our service for better efficiency, but we will continue to work with our families to meet their unique needs.”
“It’s something I don’t have a problem going to them and asking [them] to think about reworking … to make sure we aren’t leaving anyone behind,” Nixon said.
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As for Curtis, she hopes her story sparks change.
“I think it would be a precedent set for those having issues making child care payments for other companies that DCPS won’t accept as far as the payments received,” she said.
The district told Becker that they do work with local agencies, such as Sulzbacher Center and the Jacksonville Housing Authority, to accept third-party payments for their clients.
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