Kuhlenberg: Child care still a disaster | AspenTimes.com

Kuhlenberg: Child care still a disaster

Over a year ago, I announced that Playgroup Aspen’s three classrooms in the Yellow Brick would close. I had tried to negotiate with city staff and elected officials for nine months, and it was clear that there was no room for reason.

Now, a year later, every candidate is speaking about child care and even using my name for political positioning and gain, but nothing has improved — it’s gotten worse. My rooms sit empty and so does another that was closed in the same vein.

There have been no meaningful changes to Kids First and they failed to even open or conduct a search for a new program director when the former one retired, instead promoting from within

Elected leaders are still pushing a $30 million facility in Burlingame without any hard data on true capacity needs of the community or workforce to run it.

Meanwhile, Kids First and current officials claim victory because an operator signed a one-year, rent-free lease. Admittedly, they heavily subsidized and continue to provide supplies and training for this program. Yet they still have not opened a classroom (the first is slated for this week) and they are only opening for an extra 15 minutes per day and 15 days per year when they do. The kicker: They are charging 136% of Playgroup’s rate. There is no true increase in capacity — still a marked decrease — and the quality of care has not been established.

This is not success. Our families and kids are the ones bearing this burden. I said before and I echo again, if I did not care, I would walk away quietly. I care deeply about the families and children in your community and our entire valley, and I encourage every voter to remember this situation when casting your ballots.

Kadi Kuhlenberg