In their presentation, representatives of Children’s World told the Council that they are struggling financially due to the high cost of providing both Day Care and pre-school services in Sheldon. Heidi Brown reported that the facility now serves 213 children and is open from six a.m. until six p.m. She said these hours were set to help the workers at some of Sheldon’s major employers. In checking with similar facilities in surrounding communities they found that many of them received help from entities such as the city or hospitals. She also emphasized that although they are adjacent to East Elementary School, they are not part of the school system.
She said that it is not possible for them to charge enough per child to cover all their costs, plus the debt service relating to the recent building addition. In addition they are constantly struggling with unexpected expenses such as the need to replace all the cribs in the baby room to meet current standards. Justin Jonas reviewed a Children’s World financial statement which showed a net loss in 2011 of $26, 293. It is expected the 2012 loss will be over eighty thousand dollars. Some of this will be offset by donations which usually come in near the end of the year. In 2011 they received forty thousand dollars in contributions. This year as of September 30 they have received only nineteen thousand dollars.
Jonas stressed the importance of Children’s World to the entire community. He also said that it is not feasible to raise the daycare rates. At the rate of three dollars per hour, if a child is in day care forty hours per week that is a cost of over six thousand, six hundred dollars a year. The City Council indicated they would discuss this as part of the budget process, but also urged them to look into other funding sources such as the Marketing Committee. They were unsure if this would come under the guidelines set for the use of those funds.