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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

UMass Boston Daycare to Close

UMass+Boston+community+members+are+asking+the+UMass+Boston+administration+to+consider+keeping+the+center+open+without+passing+it+over+to+a+third+party.

UMass Boston community members are asking the UMass Boston administration to consider keeping the center open without passing it over to a third party.

Amongst budget issues and an effort to reconsolidate debt, the University of Massachusetts Boston’s decision was made to close the Early Learning Center. The center is licensed by the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and serves roughly over 50 children and their families. The purpose of the Early Learning Center is to serve the UMass Boston community, which includes faculty members, students, staff, and even community members by offering subsidized child care. However, the recent budgetary issues are threatening the continuance of the program.

The center is located at 2 Harbor Point Boulevard and has four classrooms, one for toddlers (ages 15 months to 2 years 8 months), two preschool classrooms (ages 2 years 9 months to 4 years 3 months), and one pre-k classroom (ages 4 years 3 months to 6 years). It is open year-round, Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The only exceptions are public holidays.

While this program is seen as beneficial to some, it is now in jeopardy of being closed in an effort to balance the current budget deficit. The Boston Globe reported the center’s $522,713 deficit during the last fiscal year. It is expected to run a $443,299 preclosure deficit for fiscal year 2017.

While administrators are adamant about closing the center, the UMass Boston community, as well as state representatives, are unhappy about the decision to close the center. As a response, the administration stated that they are considering running the center through a third-party provider at the start of 2018. However, this is not seen as much of a fix as parents, as well as community members, are worried that through a third-party provider, the quality of the service provided will decline. They also criticize the decision by the administration to close the center by blaming it on “finances.”

Some suggest the action is due in part to the large majority of non-UMass Boston affiliates at the center which provide full-time and part-time care for children and serve three meals: breakfast, lunch, and an after-school snack. The food provided by the center is prepared by an outside caterer and menus are posted monthly.

As of publication, the center is still scheduled to close on Dec. 29.

UMass Boston community members, the wider Boston community, city councilor Frank Baker, and state senator Linda Dorcena-Forry are all asking the UMass Boston administration to consider keeping the center open without passing it over to a third party.

Quoting a Boston Globe article, Forry stated, “We want to support quality early education that’s been here and running at Harbor Point, and so we need the university to figure this one out. This has been a benefit, not just to the UMass system, in terms of students and staff, but also to the greater community here in Dorchester.”