Parents react to vote to close city-run daycare - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Parents react to vote to close city-run daycare

By Carly O'Keefe - bio | email

CARBONDALE, IL (KFVS) - The Carbondale city council voted six to one Tuesday night to close a city-owned daycare facility.

City Manager Allen Gill says the Eurma C. Hayes Child Care Center has run anywhere from $75,000 to $200,000 in the red for the past five years.  As such, the city council voted not to continue to cover that deficit in tight budget times.

Many parents say the bottom line shouldn't be dollars and cents, but rather the kids and families that benefit from the daycare center.

Parent Randy Burnside says he saw the writing on the wall a month ago, suspecting the city planned to close Eurma C. Hayes.  His son is now in another daycare, but says he will miss a lot about this one.

"This was the one place that if we told him we were coming here, he would be ready to go, he'd be waiting by the car, ready to go to Eurma C. Hayes.  Just the relationships that he developed with other kids here and the diversity of the place," Burnside said.

Jessica Orman has two kids at Eurma C. Hayes Child Care Center.  Now she knows she'll have to make some major changes in her life to make new daycare arrangements work.

"Just yesterday I found one. It's part time, I have to re-take a reduction in what I work, so I mean, this has affected me financially, personally, we're losing such a great center and I really think it's the city's fault," Orman said.

Michelle Stewart moved to Carbondale last year to go to SIU, now finding a new daycare provider on short notice will make things more difficult for this single mother of two--especially after the State of Illinois cut daycare assistance funds for student parents.

"I have to put security deposits down and where she's going wants two weeks security deposit plus two weeks tuition up front. So I have to pay two months of daycare in the month of July which wasn't budgeted, and I honestly don't know how I'm going to do it," Stewart said.

The Eurma C. Hayes daycare will close its doors on August 18, but the city will still own the building. City Manager Gill will begin accepting requests for proposals from community groups with ideas on what to do with the Eurma C. Hayes Community Center next.

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