Child care centers in Minot and northwest North Dakota could soon be increasing the cost to watch over children...and bump it up by a big amount.
In a letter sent out to many parents recently, there was talk of a 40 to 50 percent increase in costs charged to parents.
That would equal hundreds of dollars more per month...but the providers say it may be needed soon to keep more employees -- simply to keep them open and operating.
Perry Olson explains the issue tonight.
(LaVonne Beyerle - ABC Child Care Center) "It is just, we have never seen the situation like it is now."
LaVonne Beyerle is a child care veteran in Minot. She runs ABC daycare and oversees its 118 kids...but that number may be forced to shrink...or perhaps the number parents have to pay may have to increase...
A letter was sent out last month to the parents of more than 500 children indicating that an increase in cost may soon have to happen...and we're talking a large increase. The letter states it may be as high as 50%. That's a number that could make child care unattainable for some in the region. The reason? The salaries that must be paid to staff now simply to keep them.
(LaVonne Beyerle - ABC Child Care Center) "When we look at raising wages, where does it come from? We only have one solution and that is to raise the parents rate and they just don't have it."
The current rate of about 9 dollars an hour doesn't compete with many other open jobs...and employees are leaving...the only way to keep them, is to pay them more.
(LaVonne Beyerle - ABC Child Care Center) "You can't leave somebody who has been with you 3 to 5 years at this lower wage so you have to bring wages up so it is comparable. It just has been eating away at profit plus the groceries...everything...as you know is higher in every business."
LaVonne is hoping the state can offer assistance -- by helping to offset operating costs with tax dollars -- therefore freeing up more funds to pay staff. The Governor in his budget address last month indicated he'd like five million dollars to go toward child care...but in what role? Beyerle hopes parents will contact lawmakers to plead the case...
(LaVonne Beyerle - ABC Child Care Center) "We are hoping that they hear the parents. They might look at us and say well you are a business so you have to make it work, but when you are talking parents having to make it work and it is not working, then what solution do these parents have?"
Does that state step in? Should it? Do parents get a bigger bill each month? Who knows...the legislative session is around the corner. In Minot, Perry Olson, KX News.
Again, that meeting is set for tonight at 6:30 at ABC Child Care Center which is located at West Minot Church of God on 16th Street Northwest -- just west of the Job Corps Center.
Parents are invited to attend -- as too are local legislators.