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Eight daycares closing due to lack of state funding

Friday, August 13, 2010

The California state budget stalemate is taking its toll on hundreds of valley children. The I5 Social Services Corporation says without a new state budget in place to provide financial assistance, it's being forced to shut down eight of its daycare centers across Fresno and Madera County. 600 children will be affected and 188 jobs are also being lost until a new budget can be agreed upon. Teachers and parents say it isn't fair they're being punished for something they have no control over. And they want the governor to sign the budget soon.

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The writing was on the wall for parents picking up their children from the Kerman Child Development Center Friday afternoon. The daycare facility and seven others like it are closed indefinitely. The budget stalemate in California leaves teachers like Ana Hinojosa upset at lawmakers.

"We spend all day with these kids. We love these kids. This is our job. I mean he's just going to rip it you know, tear it apart and because he doesn't want to sign the budget for us? I don't think that's fair to us." Hinojosa said.

Notices were given to parents a couple of weeks ago preparing them for the possibility that the daycare centers could close down. But even with fair warning parents like Justin Delgado still don't know what they'll do next. He says the staff has done wonders building a bright future for his kids.

"My daughter was here and she just graduated kindergarten and my son's now three and he's really learning a lot here. He had speech problems in the past and now he's past that and hopefully it'll open soon." Said Delgado.

The daycare centers rely heavily on state funding and two years ago a similar stalemate forced them to close down for a month. State assemblyman Mike Villines dealt with those budget talks back then and now he's in Sacramento working on getting this budget approved.

"If we're not paying our bills, they shouldn't have to pay theirs. If we can't get the budget done, then we should make sure the legislature has to stay in session, which is one of the reasons i'm up here and that we don't get paid. And that'll force things to get done quicker." Villines said.

Until a compromised is reached the teachers and kids here are left to pick up the pieces.

"Some of us are first time homebuyers you know. Struggling with that and then money wise we just can't, there's no way." Hinojosa said.

The teachers have been told they'll get full insurance coverage until the end of September. Ones who don't find jobs will be offered help through temp agencies.

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Tags:
fresno county, fresno, madera, huron, firebaugh, kerman, budget cuts, california budget, local, tommy tran
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