Day care dissent
Neighbors irked by playground noise at SchoolCare Learning Center

By Sarah Pryor - Freeman Staff

July 25, 2014

WAUKESHA Tasha Brown opened her day care center to cater to first- and second-shift parents two years ago, but some neighbors believe Brown and the kids should also spend some time catering to them.

On Wednesday, the Plan Commission delayed a decision on a permit for the SchoolCare Learning Center in the President’s Plaza Shopping Center on Sunset Drive after neighbors complained about noise and hours of operation.

Karen Greenacre, who lives near the day care center with her husband Steve, told the commission Wednesday night that she hasn’t even taken out her patio furniture yet this year because the noise of children playing on the weekends is too loud.

Greenacre suggested having the commission limit outdoor play time to 30 minutes per session, limit the number of children outside at one time and restrict weekend hours for outdoor play.

Brown said SchoolCare Learning Center is open from 6 a.m. to midnight every day, but children are never outdoors after 5 p.m. out of respect for the neighbors’ complaints, which she said began last year after an outdoor barbecue that ended at 8 p.m.

She said soon after that, she began getting rude emails and even hearing people yell at the children to keep it down.

"We’re trying to work with (the neighbors) because these are kids and I don’t want them hearing people yelling out the window for them to shut up," Brown said.

Brown opened the day care center in that location in 2012 with not only parents who work 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., but also second-shift parents in mind.

"I wanted to give parents the ability to not pass up a job because they couldn’t find day care, because I actually had to do that in my own life," said Brown, who has five children of her own. "This is something I wanted to offer the community because I remember the struggle."

Brown said she and her staff have tried to address the neighbors’

concerns by attempting to keep the kids’ voices down when they’re outside. And the staff members no longer use a whistle to tell kids when it’s time to line up or when they’re getting out of line.

Steve Greenacre said he and his wife didn’t choose to live next to a day care center they chose to live beside a parking lot.

"The fact that we can really no longer use our yard during large sections of the day seems counterintuitive to what should be fair and right," he said. "We’re not here to deny these people a permit. We’re here to work with them."

Commissioner Kevin Larson thanked Brown for her service to the community and said he was thankful to have attended school when kids were allowed to play outside and come in when a whistle blew.

"There’s nothing more refreshing than having children’s voices playing outside in 2014," Larson said.

Commissioner Joan Francoeur suggested having Brown and her staff work with city staff and neighbors to develop a plan that works for everyone.

Community Development Specialist Jeff Fortin said the item will be addressed during the next Plan Commission meeting.