POWAY, Calif. – Parents in the Poway Unified School District are frustrated over a lack of after-school care on campus in the fall.

“Literally, what do you do with your child?” Poway parent Donna Pridde said. “It’s not an option. Do you quit your job and then you’re unable to afford your life?” 

It’s a question many working parents are grappling with as the teacher and staff shortages on school campuses continue. Parents at Del Sur Elementary School are dealing with limited space for students in their ESS programs due to staffing shortages.

“Essentially, they said they don’t have enough employees so therefore they’re not offering after-school or before-school care for any students entering K or TK unless they have an older sibling already at the school,” Pridde said.

The Poway mom and other parents with kids attending Del Sur elementary are trying to come up with alternative options, but aftercare is not the only issue.

“In addition, the school is starting late this year so the school hours are 8:45 to 3:05,” Pridde said. “So in addition to needing aftercare, most parents will now need morning care. A normal office schedule would not allow you to drop your child off at 8:45.”

In a statement, district officials said they’re “hiring as quickly as we get applicants,” but acknowledged some schools have had to turn away families “for the first time in our program history.”

“We have to maintain certain adult-to-child ratios and thus cannot take all the families that want us as it would not be safe to do so,” the statement reads.

“Having them in the ESS program where they would be with children of their peers is very important to me versus them coming home and having to watch TV for a few hours while I finish my day,” the mother told FOX 5’s Misha DiBono. “I’m fortunate I can work from home sometimes. Not every day, but there’s certainly a lot of parents that don’t have that option.”

Dozens of open positions are available in the district. Applications are being accepted here.