The future of the Child Development Center at Pierce College is in question after the town hall meeting discussion of budget cuts March 22.
“We do not know exactly how the cuts will affect us,” said Child Development Center Director and instructor Phyllis Schneider.
Schneider does know, however, that one child development instructor will retire at the end of the semester, and since the college had claimed March 22 that there will not be any hiring done for next semester, her position will not be filled in.
This will push the Child Development Center shut down two classrooms that are currently used.
“If the state of California can not give us the state contracts, and we are pushed to cut radically within our program, we will have to drop a classroom completely,” Schneider said.
Pierce College student-parents are the first priority of the programs at the Child Development center. To utilize the center’s services, parents must be enrolled in a minimum of six units, and qualify under income guidelines designated by the state of California.
With these budget cuts, student-parents, who will suffer with future classroom cuts throughout campus, may be forced to take their child out of the care at the Child Development Center. Thankfully though, there are places such as the Little Thinkers Center that are also highly specialised in the field of child development.
This may lead to the children of student-parents being unqualified for the center’s services, and disable some student-parents from attending school.
“I am a single mom, and I am worried that if I can’t sign up for classes I need next semester my daughter could loose the child care here,” Pierce student Patricia Lozano said. “I don’t want to have to take her to a new place because she has just begun to be comfortable with being here while I’m in class.”
Classes shut down in the Child Development Center will not only affect student-parents, but also students in programs such as child development, nursing and psychology.
“I go often to play with the kids and have a visual understanding of their growth and learning.” Nursing major Charlotte Adams said. “These cuts will not only hurt the professors but those of who aspire to become one of them in the future.”
She said it will be difficult for students to learn from the center’s activity if the amount of services decreases.
“I can’t imagine how it will be next year for students coming to do their hours here if there are fewer classrooms,” she said.
The Child Development Center currently accommodates 120 children, and provides six children classrooms within two programs.
One program is a subsidized state preschool program designed for parents from Pierce College and surrounding community for children that are three to five years old. The second program is offered to Pierce College students with need for child care, whose child is at least two to five years old.
Students majoring in psychology, nursing and child development attend the Child Development Center on a daily basis to observe the children’s physical and cognitive developments.
“We have hundreds of visitations from Pierce College students and occasionally CSUN students,” Schneider said. “By the end of the year, we have over one thousand visitor sign-ins from students. Loosing classrooms will limit how many students can come observe the children, and could affect their class work, if they need the time to be here.”
If budget cut are applied as predicted, the Child Development Center will accommodate 75 children next semester. This is a 38 percent decrease in comparison to this semester.
This decrease will push the center to close their doors to community members because priority is given to Pierce College student-parents and low income families.
“I attended the Town Hall meeting last month, heard the decisions that were made, and I just pray that my children aren’t affected by this.” 28 year old Pierce College student Diego Luna said.