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Matt Pifkin

October 22, 2017
Reinbeck Courier

Dear Editor,

I will start this off by saying I am not trying to take any sides or show my opinion of the argument being made in the letters from folks about the daycare expansion and its funding sources. I have two kids in the daycare at least some of the time, so I will say that when my wife and I decided to move to Reinbeck from Ames last fall it was nice to have the option to keep the kids in Reinbeck and have it available.

One thing that has struck me reading all these is that nobody has taken the time to talk about day care costs in this day and age. Some may think back to the old days of a babysitter "watching" kids at their house and though that still occurs, day care centers have also popped into our lives as a way to jump start the educational process. There are lots of research study examples that show children who have been in a quality education focused center prior to preschool and kindergarten are academically ahead and do better in school than their peers who did not have that preparation.

Fundamentally it costs much more to educate than to plop them in front of a cartoon or playset in the backyard. For Reinbeck, the nuts and bolts of this come down to dollars and cents. The cost to provide care for the kids is pretty high, but in Reinbeck with a median household income of $52,000/year many, maybe even most residents with young children don't have the income to send their kids to a day care that would cost $20,000 or more per year for two children to attend. If this number seems too high to you I can assure you that with two kids in day care we paid a bit more than that in Ames, Iowa for our two and that wasn't the most expensive in town. There are not enough jobs that pay the kind of money in Reinbeck to support day care costs like this. In order to allow the rates to be at a manageable level for most of the families in Reinbeck, the daycare has found ways to subsidize the cost of providing the services they do through grants, donations, fundraisers, etc.

As for the daycare being a standalone enterprise, I agree, technically it is. However, if it was truly standing on its own feet, charging the families what it needed to in order to keep the doors open I imagine enrollment would be significantly less due to the increased cost. Beyond that the children that attend it would be less prepared to start kindergarten. If they are less prepared to be successful at school, they would be less prepared to be successful in life and Reinbeck would feel those effects down the road with a less successful working population.

Whether anyone agrees or not with how the daycare is getting funding, I think we can all agree that the daycare is a good thing for the community in general. I hope that after reading this people have a better understanding of the why behind seeking funding from outside sources, even if they don't think it is appropriate.

Matt Pifkin




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