An 8.7 percent state cut across the board in child-care subsidies has the San Diego State’s Children’s Center preparing alternatives to minimize cutbacks.
“It could be 9 percent, it could be 20 percent or more,” SDSU Children’s Center Director Robin Judd said.
According to Judd, the percentage depends on when the Department of Education makes a decision.
“We still don’t know what that translates to as far as the cuts to the Children’s Center,” Associated Students Vice President of External Affairs Tom Rivera said. “Right now, we’re kind of holding our breath.”
“It seems to me, the information was ‘go forward like you always have and there’s not going to be too much of a change.’ But it will certainly limit going forward with the years to come the number of student families we can afford to have contracts with,” SDSU Children’s Center Assistant Director Jane-Ann Carroll said.
Initial cuts are imminent despite Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed tax initiative, which increases state sales tax by 1/ 4 cent for four years and increases the state income tax on those making more than $250,000 annually for five years.
If voters don’t pass Brown’s initiative, trigger cuts would further affect statewide childcare subsidies.
“If they raise that, basically what will happen is our families who are still struggling day-to-day to put food on the table and pay the light bill and those sorts of things—that number will get even higher so it will be an even harder goal for them to obtain,” Carroll said.
However, the Children’s Center and A.S. remain positive about the situation.
“We’re trying to figure out not so much what can’t we do. It’s what can we do. We’re trying to make it positive,” Carroll said.
“We believe overall that we’re finished with layoffs or need to reorganize or reduce staff in order to manage our own house with regard to the current economic situation,” A.S. Executive Director Dan Cornthwaite said.
But if the cuts are more than what they’re anticipating, they might be forced to make cutbacks, according to Cornthwaite.
The Children’s Center is working with A.S. to plan for the future.
“I think it’s only wise that the campus makes sure that they’re ready in the case that the money isn’t there where they would make cuts,” Cornthwaite said.
According to him, the Children’s Center has a small program reserve they’re planning to tap into to make up for losses. The reserve comes from reduced expenses or more revenue than what they’ve budgeted for in previous years.
“That money, that difference goes into a program reserve that’s for this very thing. When you have unforeseen situations like this come up, you’ve got a little savings on tap to get you through those difficult times,” Cornthwaite said.
Cornthwaite hopes the reserve will be enough to keep subsidized parents in school long enough to graduate.
The main supply of money for the Children’s Center comes from tuition-paying families, according to Carroll. About 18 percent of the Children’s Center’s $2 million budget comes from state subsidies, according to the California Department of Education.
A California Field Poll released on July 5 shows voters support Brown’s tax initiative 54 percent to 38 percent.