Everett Community College suspends plans to close Early Learning Center / Public News Service

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EVERETT, Washington – After the community shrinks, Everett Community College has suspended plans to close its Early Learning Center, which provides child care and nutritional counseling to many low-income families in the north. from Seattle for 29 years.

Parents and employees were informed last week by a letter from the college, which said a review of income and expenses showed the program was “not financially sustainable.”

Ahead of a board meeting on Tuesday night, the college sent a letter to the community saying the board would work with state and local leaders to find permanent funding.

Michelle Doran, whose three-year-old daughter attends the center, said the program had been a lifesaver in recent months while she was homeless.

“I can’t tell you how phenomenal this program has been,” Doran noted. “The support I received from the Early Learning Center allowed me to be successful, so I didn’t hit rock bottom, I was able to keep a full-time job and have quality child care. “

Everett officials said the center racked up a net loss of $ 700,000 over a five-year period. In its original letter to staff, the college said it planned to close the center on June 30 and that 14 employees would be made redundant.

Everett Community College has said it is interested in handing over the lease on the building to the Snohomish County YMCA to run a child care program.

Amie Waters, deputy director of the Everett Community College Early Learning Center, said she was encouraged to have a chance to fight for the future of the program as she didn’t think the YMCA would be able to provide the same high quality education.

“The YMCA starts their head teachers at $ 13 an hour, and they cap at just over $ 17, so their end pay is less than our starting pay,” Waters explained. “For the Young Men’s Christian Association to take charge of our wonderful, diverse program is very insulting. “

The Early Learning Center has been accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Less than 10% of daycares and preschool education centers in the United States receive accreditation.

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