Early Childhood Development Center to close May 2012
Lamar University’s Early Childhood Development Center, which has provided care and instruction for the children of faculty, staff, students and the community for more than 25 years, will close in May 2012 as a result of the university’s $15 million state budget cut.
In June 2011, parents of children using the ECDC and staff were notified that the center would be required to raise enough for its operations. Tuition and fees were increased at that time, and the university stopped providing a subsidy. Parents are being notified today that the center has not been able to meet its budget despite the increase in charges and will be closing as of the end of the spring semester.
The Early Childhood Development Center provides quality childcare that is educationally oriented, and a model early childhood education program for 3, 4 and 5 year olds.
The center will continue to accept enrollments for the spring semester. The center’s final day of operation will be May 31.
“We regret the inconvenience this may cause, but we want to give parents early notice so they can make arrangements for childcare for next fall,” said Hollis Lowery-Moore, dean of the College of Education and Human Development. The center has provided services for 100 to 120 children, about half of them are children of LU faculty, staff and students.
The necessity to be self-supporting is a result of the cut in support from the state over the next two years. University officials responded by focusing on the university’s core missions of education and research, and have taken an array of cost saving measures, among which was the move to make auxiliary operations self-supporting.
“The pending closure of the Early Childhood Development Center is not a reflection on the quality of the program – which is outstanding - or the work of its director and staff,” Lowery-Moore said. Approximately 20 employees work at the center. These individuals will be encouraged to apply for critical open positions within the university that are a good fit with their qualifications, skills and experience.
Through the years, the center has been popular not only for the convenience it offered parents who are LU employees and university students, but also because it is the only National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) accredited child care center in the area. “Our NAEYC accreditation has been a real mark of quality,” Lowery-Moore said.
“We are committed to providing the best care and instruction for all children attending the center through the spring semester,” Lowery-Moore said.