Daycare in jeopardy at local college

March 10, 2009 5:52:36 PM PDT
Educators in the South Bay are trying to figure out how and where to make budget cuts, and students juggling the responsibilities of both college and children are especially worried.

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Maribel Ureno is a full-time student at Evergreen Valley College in San Jose. The state pays for two of her children to get free child care on campus, allowing Maribel to pursue a career in law enforcement.

"Because of this, I am able to come back to school to get my two year degree and finish as fast as I can because that's what I want to do," said Uren.

The community college district has two child development centers, one at Evergreen and one at San Jose City College. Together they serve about 100 kids.

The centers also act as valuable lab classrooms for students in the child development curriculum. But now the district is facing $1.5 million in budget cuts and closing the centers could save more than $500,000.

"Logically when we're talking about cuts we're talking about staying away from the classroom we have to look at the child development centers as a possible area for cuts," said District Vice Chancellor Ronald Root.

The director for the centers was one of two managers given pink slips indicating the position could be eliminated.

Those affected will put up a fight.

"It would just be devastating to the families, the community and to the students as well as the staff that works here," said child development teacher Maria Trijueiro.

The district says it's early in the budget process and decisions won't be made until next month. But many students and center workers will pack a board meeting on Tuesday night.

For Ureno, cutting the centers would not be an education denied, but perhaps one delayed.

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