By Melinda Munson
Skagway’s three for-profit child care centers will receive financial relief from the municipality. The Finance Committee voted Aug. 5 to extend a maximum total of $25,000 to the day care centers to help get them through the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I’m not anticipating that the economy comes back up right away but we would like the community to try and stay whole while we’re waiting for that,” said Steve Burnham, finance chair.
The care centers are accustomed to being subsidized by the municipality. Little Cherubs Daycare, which can serve up to 10 children, has received municipal funding since 2011. Mighty Munchkins Daycare, with a capacity of 12, has received funds since 2016. Little Buck-a-roo Daycare, which operates only during the summer and has a capacity of 12, has been awarded grants since 2016.
Those subsidies disappeared with the passage of Resolution 19-23R in June of 2019. In the past, any community organization could apply for municipal funding. The resolution changed how the municipality processed grants, qualifying only non-profits.
Due to COVID-19, providers were left with fewer working parents and fewer clients. That, along with an absence of funding from the municipality, put the centers in danger of shutting down or raising rates.
The assembly was flooded with letters and testimony in support of funding the child care facilities.
The money to bail out the centers comes from Skagway Deal funds as all of the CARES funding is already allocated. Little Cherubs and Mighty Munchkins will receive $750 per child. They will be paid for maximum capacity, not current enrollment.
Buck-a-roo, which operates approximately five months a year, will be awarded $350 per child.
The emergency fund falls under the purview of the Finance Committee and Borough Manager Brad Ryan and does not need to be approved by the full assembly.
The funding is a temporary measure as the for-profit day care centers, per Resolution 19-14R, will not qualify for municipal funding next year.