Board of Education to Consider Child Care Center Closure
“This is not a recommendation to the Board that is being made lightly. We are deeply concerned with students' access to affordable, high-quality child care."
ROSEBURG, Oregon – On Wednesday, Feb. 13, the Umpqua Community College (UCC) Board of Education will be presented information regarding the Ford Childhood Enrichment Center (FCEC). For the past several years, the child care center’s operational costs have exceeded its revenues—causing it to operate in a year-after-year negative fund balance. Following months of work and effort to find ways to make the Center viable, the College will be sharing information with the Board on possibly closing the FCEC during its regular monthly meeting.
The Center was built in 1994 to provide child care for students as a means of access to the College. Additionally, it served as a learning lab for the College’s academic program: Early Childhood Education (ECE). When fully staffed, capacity is 48 full-time children. Although the numbers fluctuate term-by-term, there are currently 37 children enrolled in the Center. Of the parents who utilize the facility, 19 are UCC students, 4 are UCC staff members, and 7 are community members.
“The College understands that child care is limited and expensive, as is housing, food, transportation, tuition, and fees,” UCC President Dr. Debra Thatcher said. “This is not a recommendation to the Board that is being made lightly. We are deeply concerned with students' access to affordable, high-quality child care, but the fact is we are subsidizing the center at an increasing rate in order to serve a small number of students.”
Last fiscal year, the Center ended with a $64,000 negative fund balance. The College transfers in $145,000 per year from the General Fund to offset the Center’s operating costs, which helps pay for the $321,000 in labor and fringe costs for the Center’s 12 staff members, and includes $16,000 in the budget for materials and supplies. Additionally, the Center brings in $186,000 in annual revenue to help offset its costs.
The College has not increased the cost for child care in at least five years. This has been a conscious effort to keep costs reasonable for students who utilize the Center. The College has done a great deal of work in exploring a number of options to keep the Center viable and open, including talking to other agencies about leasing out the facility, coming up with operational changes, and bringing in a consultant to make sure nothing is being overlooked.
The Board meeting begins at 4:30 p.m., in Health, Nursing, and Science Center Room 100.
About Umpqua Community College
Nestled in the beautiful North Umpqua River Valley, Umpqua Community College is the regional center for higher education in Douglas County, Oregon. UCC provides high quality college degree programs, workforce development, and community learning opportunities.
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