Child care center may open within a year

Student parents struggle constantly to juggle children and school


Madison McNamara, Times Staff

Have you noticed a parent bringing their child to sit in on a class? Or maybe you are one of those parents who is forced to make your child sit through a college lecture hoping they won’t cause a scene? Don’t worry, you are not alone!

There once was a time when proper child care center was available right here on campus. Nowadays parents are forced to juggle their children and their school work side by side.

Up until 2011, there was a daycare on campus that would take care of your little ones while you sat through all of your classes.

What happened? Two things, actually: The college started to run out of money to fund the daycare, but it kept hanging on until it was deemed unsafe. The child care building closed for renovation and never re-opened.

The original center was built in 1973. In the 2004 G ballot it specifically mentioned the renovation of the child development center. Though it was listed, renovations were never implemented.

According to the May 21, 2009 SJECCD meeting minutes, during the financial crisis in 2009, the district chose to keep the Child Development Center open.

On April 1, 2011, former SJCC President Barbara Kavalier informed the school that the Child Development Center must close at the end of June because the state of the center had become a threat to the health and safety of the children.

Blake Balajadia, director of Student Activities and Development, shared that when he first started in 2014, there was still a building for the daycare, but it was unoccupied.

He seemed to be on the side of re-opening the service for student parents. He even introduced some work-study students who work in the Student Center and mentioned their daily struggle with juggling their children and taking classes.

In the fall of 2016, the Associated Student Government conducted an on-campus student survey and found that difficulties in obtaining child care was a primary barrier and concern for student parents attending San Jose City College.

“I could stay and work longer, but I have to pick my child up from school and take him home,” said Cara Parker, a student and mother who works in the Student Center.

She said that if there was a daycare on campus, she could bring her child back and drop him off in the child center. She opened up about the possibilities of taking more classes and even working more hours.

Ilder Betancourt, dean of Social Science and Humanities Division, said that the EDA went around campus and spoke to students, faculty and staff members about the Child Development center. He said that it was a rare case where they had 100% consensus across the board.

Betancourt said that the plan was to partner up with a local agency who will supply the staff, but there are talks about it also being used as a sort of lab for child development students, in other words an observation course.

“I think we have a chance to influence early child care and that’s exciting!” Betancourt said.

As for the fee, he talked about how the state provides funds to subsidize the center.

Betancourt said that they were still talking about the details, but there would be some kind of qualifier for students so they can avoid any kind of fee, almost like a financial aid for child care.
There are talks to open a temporary child service center within the year while they begin construction on the new one, Betancourt said. The school hopes to have the new center open and fully operational by 2021.