Santa Cruz nonprofit affected by budget

September 12, 2008 12:10:46 AM PDT
With the state budget now 73 days overdue, the number of people and organizations caught in the middle continues to grow. There is a ripple effect the whole situation has created for one nonprofit in Santa Cruz.

Playing make-believe is a part of life for preschoolers at Community Bridges in Santa Cruz, but the financial reality inside is hard to imagine for just about anyone.

"The teachers have to work harder to get materials from, I hate to say it, but from the trash," said Vivian Harlamoff, a site supervisor.

The 30-year-old nonprofit is broke. It relies on $2 million from the state to run all four child care centers for low income families in the county. While the budget standstill continues, no money has come to community bridges.

To get by, the school's 140 children have to use old supplies and even paper from home, but that too could change.

Those at the nonprofit say they can't keep waiting for the government to take action. That's why they will come Tuesday. The CEO of Community Bridges will ask the board of directors for permission to start letting parents know these centers could close in 30 days.

"I can't believe that it's come down to this. I would probably have to quit my job and I don't know what, go on welfare?" said Davi Schill, a parent.

Almost everyone who uses the preschools works full time, making just enough to get by. Community Bridges offers child care for free or on a sliding scale.

"There's a lot going through my mind, what I would do if it closes, where she will stay?" said Elizabeth Munoz, a Parent.

If the centers close, it also means all 26 teachers would suddenly be laid off.

"My husband been telling me you better start looking for a job," said Harlamoff.

Finding a job in this economy isn't easy. It's a dire situation that adults here wish really were just make believe.


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