Child care center officials say program might not continue without student fees.

by Eric Swanson

Senior Carissa McCartan said she doesn’t even want to think about paying more for child care if a funding cut is made to the Community Child Care Center.

“There’s no way I am going to be able to stay here if (the cost) increases,” she said.

The center is one of several groups upset with the initial Student Services Fees funding recommendations.

In its proposal released Monday, the Student Services Fees Committee cut all funding for four student groups that received fees last year and significantly reduced several other groups’ funding.

“It isn’t like anyone is living large over here,” said Jill Madsen, Community Child Care Center director. “(This recommendation) no longer makes our mission of affordable child care possible.”

Last year, the child care center received $58,000 in student fees. The 6-5 initial decision for no funding could force the center to close, Madsen said.

The cut would raise the cost of care approximately $1,300 per family per year, causing stress for many parents, Madsen said.

Como Community Child Care, which has received Student Service Fees for 22 years, faces similar problems if its funding is cut.

“We are not happy,” adviser Katie Johnson said. “I think some of the student fees committee (members) are new to this and they don’t understand the requirements” to run an organization like this one.

She said the proposed cut could close the organization or notably raise its services’ costs.

The committee’s initial recommendation report for each child care group states that child care centers do not fit the purpose of the Student Services Fees.

Funding reduction could end Safe Space, a program the Queer Student Cultural Center instituted, said Emily Souza, the center’s treasurer.

The program provides “a place for people to come and be themselves,” Souza said. This requires a trained, full-time staff person to be on duty, she said.

Many students who have used Safe Space might have committed suicide or dropped out of school if the office wasn’t open when they needed it, she said.

James DeLong, who helped found The Wake, said the proposal to cut its funding is a big blow to its viability.

“We are really outraged,” he said. “I don’t know how they can justify giving us zero funding.”

The Wake received approximately $60,000 last year and was hoping for at least the same amount. But most of the committee felt, among other things, that “The Wake has not met its mission of representing all of student life at the University.”

“We are definitely going to the public hearing,” DeLong said. “It’s going to be pretty intense.”

The committee will not make final funding decisions until after groups and the public have the opportunity to further speak to them at public hearings today and Wednesday.

The hearings will be held from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. today at the Coffman Union Theater; 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday at the St. Paul Student Center Theater. Administrative groups’ public hearings will take place from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at Coffman Union and from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Thursday in room 110 at the St. Paul Student Center.