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CCSU Childcare Plans Hit a Roadblock

by Kristina Vakhman

After nearly 10 years of childcare expansion efforts resulting in no progress, the plans for an on-campus drop-in daycare have encountered yet another obstacle.

“We have decided that we’re not going to pursue an increase in the Student Activity Fee for the drop-in daycare,” Student Government Association senator and chair of the Student Life Committee Victor Constanza said during his report at last week’s SGA meeting.

The small addition to the Student Activity Fee—which would have raised it from $100 to $105 for undergraduate students and from $37 to $42 for graduate students—was initially proposed by Dr. Fiona Pearson and Dr. Leah Glaser, co-chairs of CCSU’s Work-Life Balance Committee and the Committee on the Concerns of Women and professors of sociology and history, respectively.

Based on a similar model at Portland State University, the money would have gone toward operating costs for the drop-in daycare and toward ensuring that access to its services would be subsidized for student-parents. Additionally, faculty and staff who wanted to use the daycare would have to pay, thus further offsetting the financial burden on student-parents.

This conclusion came as a result of issues regarding the distribution of the money garnered from the Student Activity Fee. The fee’s earnings are divided between all of the organizations that directly receive from it, including the SGA, the Central Activities Network and the Media Board. According to Constanza, that means solely the SGA’s portion—only 63 percent—would go into funding for the proposed daycare.

After a meeting between Constanza, President Dr. Zulma Toro, SGA Senator Joshua Quintana and others, it was determined that even though the cut portion of the raised Student Activity Fee would cover all or almost all of the $38,609 needed, having to deal with the percentaging problem and to figure out how to funnel the money directly into the daycare would make for future difficulties, consequently confirming it would not be the best route.

When asked if other avenues for funding had been explored, Dr. Pearson, who attended the Feb. 28 SGA meeting, explained that a previous plan for investments into the daycare from Student Affairs had fallen through on account of the office not having money within their budget for the project.

Moreover, in past interviews with The Recorder, Dr. Pearson explained that Connecticut grants could be a means of funding; however, given the current economy of the state, she was not too optimistic about seeing any such grants coming to fruition.

Constanza first announced that he would be scrapping his resolution on increasing the Student Activity Fee on the SGA’s Feb. 21 meeting. Having affirmed in the last meeting on Feb. 28 that he was indeed taking the resolution off of the table, Constanza stated that the Student Life Committee would search for an alternative option.

“We are going to have a discussion with the Budgeting Office on campus to see if we can implement some sort of fee through there, but not through the Student Activity Fee,” Constanza said.

As of now, there are no details regarding this new fee in terms of the dollar amount or the process of its implementation. Constanza said previously it would most likely be its own separate fee specifically for childcare, but the accuracy of that manifestation, just like the drop-in daycare’s future, is unknown.