Child care mistakes
I’m still disappointed in the Aspen City Council’s failure to pivot when it was clear and apparent that child care providers were not rushing in to fill the vacant yellow brick building classrooms in the past few months.
This stubbornness to try to coerce the current high-quality child care programs to provide more days of operation ultimately forced the closure of Kids Play Group and downsizing and planned closure of Aspen Mountain Tots.
That led to a decrease of dozens of spots for local workers’ children, and an increase in demand of the already overworked and underpaid providers in the upper valley.
What are you going to do about it? Could we begin with a full audit of Kids First? Initiated in the 1990s, one of the goals of Kids First was to help provide local early child care teachers with housing. I certainly haven’t heard anything about this being the case.
Subsidized rent for providers in the YBB and scholarships for families in need are the only two areas where I have heard money is being spent, while Kids First takes in millions of dollars per year from a 0.45% sales tax?
As an aside, my family didn’t even qualify for assistance because we live outside the city urban growth boundary, and our business is mobile. The application did not ask how much sales tax I have paid in Aspen.
We are fortunate to have had excellent, high-quality early child care provided by Dawn Ryan, but many here are less fortunate. I know of at least one family who is moving away, citing the lack of child care options as a top reason for leaving.
An ongoing problem that was worsened by the City Council’s informed but poorly executed decision. I honestly saw the good intentions, but when it was clear from community feedback that we would’ve preferred to have Kady and Dawn over unknown five-day-per-week providers, and definitely over empty classrooms, nothing was done to stop the runaway train.
Before more decisions are made on who will be taking over the YBB classrooms, I, for one, would appreciate a full review of Kids First’s financials, goals and objectives to ensure future local families have an opportunity here.
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