Kyle Holland, Contributing Writer
The Board of Education held its regularly-scheduled board meeting on Wednesday, April 20, in the Calapooia Center on the Albany campus.
Students with children in the Periwinkle Child Development Center (PCDC) attended the meeting in a last-ditch effort to save the center.
This is the last term that the PCDC will be in operation after over 20 years of service to our students and community. In the fall, Head Start is set to take over the child care area, though the contract has not yet been signed.
There is a group of students that are not willing to let this go lightly.
Melissa Hite, Caila Williams and Melissa Bledsoe have made repeated and varied attempts to save the PCDC. They have presented alternative plans and possible funding options to LBCC administration. These are three parents that have been able to pursue their college career and dreams as a result of the resources PCDC provides.
They have been working around the clock with ideas on how to save the center and showed up Wednesday to pitch one last-ditch effort to the board.
Williams is a third year student at LBCC and is now dual-enrolled and has two daughters in the program at PCDC. She spoke first and posed some interesting questions to the board. She raised the point that other community colleges (Lane and Chemeketa) have faced similar fates to their child care centers but ended up saving them through student fees. “If students would help support our cause can we save at least one room in the center?” Williams asked.
The children are ready to play after lunch and a little bit of sunshine at the Periwinkle Child Development Center here at LBCC. by Kyle Holland
Hite spoke next, she said LBCC “needs to allow the students to make a choice.” She asked “why the center was not a part of the general fund that all students pay into.”
Head Start (the proposed replacement program for PCDC) still has not signed a contract with LBCC. With fall term right around corner, her fears are that they will not be ready in time.
Bledsoe was last to speak on behalf of the center and was hoping to leave a lasting impression with some photos of the children that are being affected as a result of the center closing. She passed out photos, which were displayed on poster board, to the Board to look at while she made her speech. Fewer than half the Board members looked at the photos.
Bledsoe asked the Board directly, “Is there a deadline?” The board was silent.
The citizen comments part of the agenda ended with no comments from the board on any of these students’ emotional attempts to save the center.
The meeting continued, but during the board comments’ section, Hal Brayton reminded the students that “in tough times, tough decisions have to be made.”
LBCC is in the midst of many cuts and sacrifices are being made campus wide. Many of them may or may not have affected you. For many student/parents of the PCDC, these cuts are not just hurting their options to stay in school they are, in fact, “devastating” according to Williams.