GPSA weighs funding for child care

Children’s Center says it needs $15,000 more, or will face trimmed services



Maren Mossman, a Pullman resident and WSU graduate student, holds her son, Liam, who attends the Children's Center. GPSA will decide whether to increase funding to the child care service.

ANGELICA RELENTE, Evergreen reporter

Graduate and professional students will have to decide between increasing funding for the on-campus Children’s Center, or maintaining it and allocating those funds elsewhere.

A budget proposal regarding funding for the Children’s Center’s evening child care was announced at the Graduate and Professional Students Association meeting on Monday.

One plan proposed an additional $15,000 to be allocated to the Children’s Center evening care program budget, providing the center with $75,000 total. The second proposal would keep GPSA funding at $60,000 and would distribute $15,000 to other recipients instead.

The GPSA Senate will vote on the budget proposals on Feb. 26.

Heather MacDermott-Havey, director of the Children’s Center, said all funds from GPSA go to the evening care program. She said they provide food and snacks, as well as supervised care for children. The program, MacDermott-Havey said, provides a licensed, safe facility with high quality standards.

“It’s costing us about $75,000 to run the program, but we only get $60,000,” she said. “Therefore the Children’s Center is picking up that extra cost. We need to look at being fiscally aware of what it’s actually costing.”

MacDermott-Havey said the Children’s Center does not get the additional funding, it would need to cut back services to within the range of what GPSA can provide.

The evening care program runs Monday through Thursday from 5:30 – 9:30 p.m., according to the Children’s Center website. GPSA recipients pay an annual registration fee of $50 per family. GPSA covers the cost of evening care.

Brenda Boyd, executive director of the Children’s Center, said evening care is open for the university to use, but graduate and professional students make up the majority of the population using the center.

Boyd said the $60,000 GPSA provides covers staffing, food, materials and other costs. The Children’s Center has been receiving $60,000 for a number of years, she said, but over time, the cost of minimum wage, food and materials has gone up.

Not all graduate and professional students are parents, she said, so she thinks the GPSA Senate will have to find a balance between the needs of graduate and professional students who have children, and those who don’t.

“It’s a difficult decision to make,” she said.

GPSA Vice President Amir Gilmore said if the Senate votes in favor of the second proposal, they will find a way to utilize the money and spread it around the departments. He said the money could also go toward communication, travel, advertising and student organizations, among other things.

“The philosophy is to help as many of our students as we can,” GPSA President Shane Reynolds said.

He said it is a complicated issue and he recognizes the cost of childcare is incredibly high. It is a worthy investment to help graduate and professional students, he said, which fits GPSA’s mission.

“Sometimes you support things that you don’t see benefits from,” Reynolds said. “That’s OK because it sort of serves the greater good.”

A photo caption on this story has been updated from its original version to reflect that Maren Mossman is not an employee of the Children’s Center.