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Little Rangers Learning Center in West Yellowstone may have to close its doors due to lack of funding

Director Mia Bugajski says alleged past embezzlement may be to blame for funding challenges.
Posted at 1:41 PM, Jan 16, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-16 15:41:41-05

WEST YELLOWSTONE — Little Rangers Learning Center is one of the only childcare resources in West Yellowstone. With recent funding challenges, the facility may close, leaving residents with little to no child care.

"Just devastating because, number one, our kid's education, we rely on a lot with just everything that he learns before kindergarten and everything," says parent Nicholas Wilson.

Wilson’s 4-year-old son attends Little Rangers Learning Center. He says this facility is an amazing source for not only his son, but the community as well.

"Having the different teachers and everything is just so important to their growth and development," says Wilson. "Not only that, but like, their socialization."

The learning center currently has 25 children enrolled and 4 teachers. But Director Mia Bugajski says the daycare may have to close its doors due to what she describes as past alleged embezzlement that wiped out their savings.

"We’ve been reaching out to the community and families and we've actually gotten some really positive responses. So we're hopeful that we'll be able to stay open a little bit longer," says Bugajski. "To remain open, our goal right now for our fundraising is $80,000."

She says they’re doing everything they can to continue providing childcare in West Yellowstone.

"We are going to fight and we're going to look for other avenues to help fund us so that we can stay open," says Bugajski. "Ultimately it's the children who are going to suffer because if they're not able to get that education ahead of time before they head off to kindergarten, then it takes a lot longer for them to catch up."

Without a resource like Little Rangers, Wilson says the community would have to work extra hard to come up with childcare solutions.

"Basically, we have to work as a community and babysit our kids. We probably just have to take turns from work and stay back home and try to work from home. And nobody has very flexible options," says Wilson.