Resnick outlines affordable child care plan

Resnick outlines affordable child care plan

Calling affordable child care a top campaign priority, Madison mayoral candidate Scott Resnick pledged using both capital and operating budget dollars to reform the problem.

“When you look at child care options, particularly for people of color, Latinos, and those at the lowest end of the socioeconomic level, it’s difficult to find options,” Resnick said. “So what I’ve been proposing is new measures to create seed funding to open up more child care options.”

In part, Resnick’s plan would take about $250,000 general fund dollars for scholarships, dedicating a full-time city employee to helping create more child care businesses, and matching grants so more child care centers will be incentivized to open.

“We need to be opening up new lines to make sure there are scholarships for child care, that we can make sure if it’s deciding between who’s going to watch my child, and finding a job and a place of employment, that that’s not a decision someone has to make in Madison.”

However, Madison Mayor Paul Soglin said he is not sure how local government can help after a decade’s worth of state budget cuts.

“I don’t know how we’re going to solve it on the local level, but it’s one area where the private sector may have to step in and make a major effort to deal with the insensitive nature of state leaders,” Soglin said.

Resnick points to examples he would like to see more of, like the Lighthouse Church’s early learning center, which held a grand opening of its east side location Sunday.

“It’s quite expensive. It probably cost about $10,000 per year to provide care for a child,” Lighthouse child care and preschool administrator Tia Sierra said. “We try to get as many subsidies as we can. Buying new toys. Getting new curriculum. We try to get volunteers to come help us. And community volunteers to come help us.”

Thanks to those private subsidies, Lighthouse families end up paying less tuition. Parents like Enoc Collegial are excited his nearly 2-year-old daughter Myah can get a quality, bilingual, cheaper education at Lighthouse versus her previous home day care program.

“Just the fact we’re getting the same service, the same nurturing service, at a better rate. We can bring her here twice as much, it’s made a huge difference to us,” Collegial said. “We can actually talk through her tantrums now. She used to say no, no, no. And we’ve seen a change just in the three weeks.”

The Lighthouse child care facility is located within Care Net’s Eagle Harbor affordable workforce apartment housing complex. Beginning Monday, some of the single moms who live there will now just have to walk a few feet for day care.

Resnick said he is still studying to see exactly what amount each per child scholarships would receive.