About 30 parents of children in the Estherville Child Care Center turned out for a work session the Estherville Lincoln Central Board of Education held Monday night to discuss options for the preschool which is run by the district.
Superintendent Tara Paul had sent a letter to parents earlier outlining funding shortfalls for the center due to declining grants and a restriction on other district funds to pay for the program.
"The ECCC must be a self-sustaining entity and supported only by the tuition gained through the families that use the ECCC facility or dollars that are given to the district by outside entities to support the operation of the ECCC," Paul said in the letter.
Paul projected the daycare would not be self-sustaining by the end of December and, at best, by the end of March 2013.
Options Paul outlined in the letter were:
n Phasing out the infant room.
n Phasing out the infant and toddler room.
n Eliminating the summer daycare option.
n Becoming a wrap program where the operating hours wrap around the K-4 school day and times.
n Other entities assume the before and/or after school program.
n Complete program closure.
At Monday night's meeting, the board looked at figures showing first-quarter average monthly revenues of $14,283 compared to expenses of $17,713.
Also of concern was the cost of providing infant and toddler care compared to the money received.
According to Paul, infant care requires a ratio of one careworker for four children while two-year-olds require a ratio of one worker for every six children. As for revenue raised, the parent of an infant receiving 32 hours of care pays $91.20 a week compared to the Emmet County average of $126.90 for DHS-certified daycares.
Paul said if the district could split the difference between its current rates and county averages and still maintain current numbers the daycare center could remain viable.
The board will post numbers it discussed at Monday night's meeting on the district Web site. A special meeting will be held 5:15 p.m. Nov. 12 when the board could act on the matter.