OCC child care faces cuts

— Community college students may soon have a harder time finding child care while they go to school.

In his 2014-15 executive budget proposal, Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed cutting $653,000 from the state’s operating grant to the State University of New York’s child care centers. The cut would come in addition to a reduction in the federal Child Care Block Grant, which subsidizes care for children of needy student-parents.

While the New York State Senate restored Cuomo’s cut in their budget proposal, advocates say the cuts faced by SUNY centers in the last several years are still devastating and need to be restored. And it’s community colleges that will likely see the most damaging consequences.

“Without the state operating aid, centers are challenged with providing services, updated equipment, toys and supplies, keeping fees flat, et cetera,” said Nina Tamrowski, a professor of political science and chair of the social sciences department at Onondaga Community College. “With the reduction in the block grant, which goes directly to needy student parents, they are less able to afford child care for their children and stay in school.”

As such, the Faculty Council of Community Colleges (FCCC) is asking for the community’s help in requesting that more aid be directed to child care centers to help students stay in school. The FCCC issued a resolution in support of that endeavor requesting that the aid be restored, in addition to $1 million to offset the cuts to the Child Care Block Grant.

"Access to quality and affordable child care gives our student parents the opportunity to succeed in college and transform their lives and the lives of their families,” said Dr. Tina Good, president of the FCCC. “Our capacity as community colleges for educating across the generations must be supported if we are sincere in our efforts to improve student success now and in the future."

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