Keep the IPFW Childcare Center Open
This petition made change with 666 supporters!
UPDATE: 4/10/2013. We will be delivering the petition (and the eleven pages of comments!) to the Chancellor and Vice-Chancellors this morning. We can't thank you enough for your support! This was wonderful. If you haven't signed yet - please do so! We'll continue to put pressure on the administration about the importance of quality childcare for the Fort Wayne community. We will keep you updated. Thanks again, Chris Erickson
We were completely taken by surprise when the administration announced that it was planning to shut down the IPFW childcare center.
Professor Michael Wolf wrote two letters to you (and to the Vice-Chancellors and Dean of Students) dated March 21 and March 25, 2013. He deftly presented the case about how critical it is to keep the childcare center open, especially for our students. We will not repeat the points he made, but we do confirm our support of them.
We wish to make several other points.
One of the most troubling aspects of this rush to eliminate childcare for IPFW faculty, staff, and students is that due process was not followed. We have been told that “some faculty” were consulted about the possibility of finding grants to keep the center open and were given only two days to respond. We have no idea who these faculty were. They did not include anybody from the department of psychology, including prominent child psychologist Elaine Blakemore who has used the center for her own research. They did not include faculty from early childhood education who have used the center for their education classes. They did not include anybody from the original childcare taskforce. The “transparency” that seems important to this administration was lacking in the way this was handled.
We are also concerned because the original struggle (2004-2005) to keep the childcare center open ended with what we thought was a viable solution (as Mike Wolf explains). The administration assured us that the childcare center would receive some money from the development of the old childcare center site. This promise was central to our final agreement. While we understand (via one of the open forums last week) that the amount of money was not as much as the administration had anticipated, surely some of those funds could be used to keep this vital resource open, as was promised.
In what seems to be a frantic attempt to balance the budget, a budget that has been fluid for years, there has been no deliberative and thoughtful conversation with any of the main players. There has been little thought about the ramifications of shutting down the center, such as the potential damage to future earnings of students who use the childcare center and the professional goals of students who work or intern at the childcare center. If the administration closes the center, it also walks away from its own investment (IPFW does own the building) and the time and money spent over the past few years to achieve accreditation.
Yet, there is a solution and it is not providing vouchers for students (see Mike Wolf’s letters).
We urge you to use some of the reserve fund that IPFW has stashed away for that so-called “rainy day.” We remind you that the faculty senate passed a resolution on March 27 that asked you to use some of these funds. With some 18-20 million dollars for “emergencies,” we submit that keeping the childcare center open is one of those emergencies. Help fund the childcare center for two years. This will allow enough time for the center (now in a much better position since it just earned accreditation in October 2012) to apply for grants and other outside sources of funding. It will allow them more time to appeal to other departments, schools, and organizations on campus (education, human service, social work, nursing, visual and performing arts, the Center for Women and Returning Adults, for example) to make them aware of potential collaboration (faculty research, student internships and research, workstudy, practicums). This is an approach that one of our peer institutions, Northern Kentucky University, has used to great effect.
Nine of IPFW’s eleven peer institutions have childcare facilities – and of the two who do not, one of them, Southeast Louisiana, has formed a committee to explore creating a center. Most of our publicly funded institutions in Indiana (IUPUI, IU South Bend, IU Southeast, Indiana State, and Ball State, for example) have childcare centers.
Moreover, we do have a campus precedent – with the journal Clio – of short term funding from the administration coupled with adequate administrative and other necessary support in order to make a previously funded entity self-sustaining.
We offer a sample business plan (to be improved upon by the school of business, which was part of the original agreement with TLC). Part of the $214K apparently needed to run the center could come from some different sources: $80K from the Stellhorn development and $40K (or more) from student government. If the childcare center flips to non-profit status, it will knock off around $50-$60K from that $214K. The childcare center can also benefit from additional grants that faculty will help guide, as well as some fundraising in the community. Finally, a small bit of the reserves fund – for just two years while the childcare center becomes more self-sufficient – is a sound investment to retain this crucial resource - a resource that IPFW has had for almost thirty years.
Today: Coalition to Save the IPFW Childcare Center is counting on you
Coalition to Save the IPFW Childcare Center needs your help with “Chancellor Vicky Carwein: Keep the IPFW Childcare Center Open”. Join Coalition to Save the IPFW Childcare Center and 665 supporters today.