The Madison City Council moved to keep a struggling south side day care center afloat, but a day after the vote, council members who voted against it are speaking out.
The council president and at least one alder said they were concerned that the grant sets a precedent for anyone in a financial pinch.
The daycare serves low-income families, and its board members said they’re “delighted” with the money, which will keep them from closing.
“Our staff is so energized and it’s so fun for me to talk to them, be there, see them coming together and the language is all about what we’re doing for kids,” said Child Development Inc. board member Claudia Pogreba.
She said the money will pay for the accreditation process. CDI surrendered its accreditation two years ago when it was between directors. It went from a five- to two-star rating, and with it went some of its state funding. Pogreba said enrollment is also declining.
District 3 Alder Lauren Cnare supported giving CDI a loan and voted against the grant.
“To simply give out the money, with no strings attached, we had no idea what the deliverable would be, we had no idea what we would be buying, there was no plan, there was no proposal in front of the Common Council,” said Cnare.
The council told CDI to submit a business plan before it releases any of the money. Cnare is concerned more people will start pleading with the council for financial help.
“It will be very difficult for the council now to say, when another agency comes forward, with a plan, verbal or not, and an extreme need, how will we say no?” said Cnare.
Pogreba plans to meet with donors to discuss short-term funding to supplement the grant. She promised the more than four-decades-old day care will stay open and serve its struggling families, thanks to the city.
“Madison supports its community and that’s why we came back after being gone for years,” said Pogreba. “It’s a great place to be.”
The city didn’t set a deadline for Pogreba to submit a business plan. But she said city accreditors have already started their review process.
You can learn more about CDI, and the history of other day cares, through a searchable database called YoungStar.