Social services are greatly impacted by budget

September 16, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
The most vulnerable are of course at greatest risk right now. A preschool in Aptos is forced to make some tough decisions.

Life for these four year olds at Community Bridges Preschool is filled with play time, snack time, and more play time. They have no idea that it could all come to an end in one month's time.

"This situation that appears to be happening so many hundreds of miles away from us, is hitting home," said Sam Storey, from Community Bridges CEO.

As Storey sits in Aptos, the budget impasse in Sacramento is ruining the future of the non-profit he oversees. The state funds Community Bridges' four preschool centers. The government hasn't paid a dime since July.

"It's about trying to buy enough time, while the budget battle continues," said Storey.

And so the CEO asked the Board of Directors for permission to notify parents of his plan to close the centers in 30 days. Community Bridges already owes vendors $500,000 it doesn't have.

"Is there a chance we won't have a job anymore," asked Pat Powell, a Community Bridges preschool teacher.
"The closure would truly be temporary," said Storey.

The closures would mean 26 teachers would be laid off. The thought is that once the state has a budget, staff can return to work.

The board voted unanimously to allow the notification process to begin and Powell began planning for her future.

"Go into unemployment for six months if it has to go that far and in that time, keep searching and see where I can go," said Pat Powel, a preschool teacher.

Regardless, the low income parents who use the pre-school don't have as many options. Without affordable day care, some will have to quit their jobs and go on welfare.

"It's not something I take lightly. I also realize the impact it has not only on staff, but on the parents involved," said Sam Storey, a Community Bridges CEO.

The notices will start going out in two weeks. The reason for the delay is everyone at Community Bridges hopes the legislature will over ride the governors' veto and a budget will be in place this week.


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