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Oakland child care centers get emergency funding

August 27, 2010 5:54:26 PM PDT
Some low-income Oakland parents received good news Friday when the Oakland Unified School District announced it found the money to keep open five of seven state-funded child care centers and preschools that had been scheduled to close.

Earlier Friday, angry parents had told ABC7 they would find a way to keep the centers open, even if it meant staffing them with volunteers.

Parent Liliana Martin and her daughter arrived at Jefferson Child Development Center in Oakland Friday morning upset that the lack of state funding means that their beloved preschool might close.

"She has been improving a lot; now she knows how to read, she knows her numbers, she knows a lot," Martin said. "This is a really good school."

"We're trying to send a message to the state we're going to do whatever it takes to keep our centers open," Oakland Parents Together spokesperson Henry Hitz said.

With the state's current budget problems, funding for the K-3 before and after school programs has been eliminated and funding for preschool programs has been drastically reduced.

"For Oakland, that meant $13 million less to spend on young children, that reduced our budget by 73 percent overall," Oakland Unified School District spokesperson Troy Flint said.

Some parents say they just will not be able to make to proposed center closings work for them. For Martin it means a longer commute to get her daughter to preschool.

Oakland Unified feels it is not practical to open the centers with volunteers for a variety of reasons, including liability.

The five centers that will remain open are Jefferson Child Development Center, Hintil Kuu Ka Child Development Center, Sequoia Child Development Center, Manzanita Child Development Center and Piedmont Avenue Child Development Center.


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