About Barton’s Child Development Center
Students, faculty, staff and community members with children between the ages of 2 weeks and 12 years have access to the Child Development Center located at the Barton County campus on a space-available basis. The Center is open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. whenever college offices are open. The Center remains open for child-care services on Fridays in summer when the Barton County campus offices observe a summer schedule. Located adjacent to Cottonwood Hall, the Center provides care for as short a time as one hour and as long as 11 hours each day.
The Center is licensed by the State of Kansas to provide care for up to 66 children during each academic semester. The director of the Child Development Center can be reached at 620-786-1131 or 792-9360 to provide information about Center enrollment.
At present, full-day rates for community members, including Barton employees, range from $22.50 for preschoolers to $27.25 for infants. Students receive a discount, and there are rates for school-age children after school and in the summer.
Source: Barton Community College; http://www.bartonccc.edu/publicresources/CDC .
The Child Development Center at Barton Community College will raise its day-care rates by $2 per child per day, effective July 1. That follows a $1 increase imposed on Feb. 1.
College trustees heard a report on the center last Thursday, during the board’s April study session. Dean of Administration Mark Dean said the center always loses money and this year’s projected year-end loss will be $115,084.
“It’s operated in the red from Day One,” Dean said. In 2002-03 the loss was $155,873, but the college has been able to reduce that over the years.
Barton President Dr. Carl Heilman said he does not want the annual loss to be above $100,000. The $2 fee increase should bring in another $24,000, according to Dean.
Dean of Student Services Angie Maddy and Director of the Child Development Center Larissa Graham also reported to the trustees.
Maddy said the center’s rates are substantially higher than other child-care centers in the area. “Our salaries and benefits are better,” she said.
Other community colleges also operate child-care centers at a loss, Maddy said. One eliminated the service and one turned the operation over to a local partner agency. Similarly, a private company has a contract to run the food services on the Barton County campus.
“We’ve considered eliminating certain age groups,” Maddy said. Barton’s center accepts infants, who require a higher level of care, but some day-care centers only accept children who are potty trained. However, half of the infants at the center have older brothers and sisters.
The center is licensed for 66 children, including six infants. Barton County’s other day-care centers only have spots for 12 additional infants, she said.
Graham and Maddy recently met with parents who shared some ideas. From that meeting, the college agreed to bring back a Parent Advisory Committee that it used to have. The committee will meet monthly.
One idea was to cut the consumption of paper products. In January the center got a deal on lunch trays from Great Bend USD 428 so fewer paper plates are used. But the biggest expense at the center is salaries. This year, it’s projected that salaries will cost $179,327, plus $65,530 for benefits and $84,659 for student salaries. Other expenditures are projected to be $33,739.
Trustee Don Learned asked if many single parents use the facility. He noted that in some cities, such as Wichita, the public schools offer day-care. He added that he wasn’t saying Great Bend should do that.
Graham said four or five are single-parent families, but most are married. Currently the center serves 35 families who have 52 children enrolled. About half of the families are community members, 43 percent are faculty and staff, and 8 percent are BCC students.
College administrators said the center fills a need in the community. At a time when the college is looking for ways to cut the budget, Heilman said a $100,000 deficit is “acceptable.”
“The $2 increase may get us there,” he said. Last year the program lost $95,192. With the current projected loss above $115,000, “you start looking for other options.”
The president said a private contract might not be a good idea, because the college would lose control of the program, but would still be accountable in the eyes of the community.
Barton’s Child Development Program also uses the center, enrolling six to eight BCC students in child-care courses each semester, Dean said.
Board chairman Mike Johnson said the trustees need to explore new options for the center.
“As a board, we consider it a valuable part of the institution and we continue to fund it,” Johnson said. Any major changes would need to be done gradually. “Obviously we can’t pull the plug.”