University of Minnesota delays child care center closure
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The University of Minnesota-run child care center used by children of some faculty and staff, will remain open until the university explores alternatives that could include keeping some of the center's services in place.
In January, the university announced it would close the Child Development Center due to budget constraints and a plan to move and expand the university's child development research facility, the Shirley Moore Laboratory School.
That announcement was met with swift pushback from parents, who said other alternatives should be examined.
University President Eric Kaler sent a letter Friday to parents that said, in part, "I have heard your concerns about the proposed closing of the Child Development Center (CDC), the childcare center on the Twin Cities campus. And so today, Provost Karen Hanson and I asked CEHD Dean Jean Quam to postpone the closing of the CDC until we have an alternative, or alternatives, in place to allow for a smooth transition for children and, potentially, for staff."
The Child Development Center serves about 140 children and costs between $445 and $750 per child every two weeks, depending on the child's age and the family income. Around 200 children are on the waiting list.
Kathryn Pearson, associate professor in the University of Minnesota political science department, has children at the center, and said the parents are applauding the postponement.
"We really see two very important developments," she said. "Postponing the closure of the CDC until an alternative is in place and the fact that one of the alternatives can be a center run by the university, which means that the Child Development Center — all of its expertise, its excellence — could remain intact and hopefully expanded."
Parents of children who go to the center formed a group online, and campaigned against the closure.
Kaler wrote that the school will look at alternatives and explore:
• possible public/private or nonprofit partnerships to provide child care to more families.
• ways to reduce or eliminate the university's subsidy for the center.
• the role the center plays in allowing undergraduates majoring in child development to complete requirements.
Kaler said the postponement is not permanent, but will be in place until an alternative or alternatives are