Bryan Beilke

It may be alarming for some students that the ASI Children’s Center receives around 40 percent of the Associated Students Inc. budget. Why is so much money given to the facility?

Children’s Center Director Tonya Iversen said a referendum students voted on a decade ago determined the percentage of student fees that would be allocated to the center.

“At that time, the students voted to support the Children’s Center through their fees, and that was increased over time, so it’s now a little over $9 per student per quarter indexed,” Iverson said.

That amount increases yearly, based on the Higher Education Price Index, which is the increase in costs in certain services purchased by higher education institutions.

The student fee breakdown for the 2007-2008 school year is: 55 percent for the University Union Budget, 19 percent for athletic scholarships, 16 percent for ASI, 5 percent for the Children’s Center, 4 percent for field studies, and 1 percent for community service.

Michelle Broom, public relations coordinator for ASI, said the center also applies for grants from the State Department of Education and other private industries to help support the facility.

“You have to hope they see your need as valuable in order for them to send you money,” she said.

There are two general budgets that fund campus facilities, services and events. One of them, the ASI budget, funds the Children’s Center, general programming, club funding and grants, PolyEscapes, ASI events like Concerts in the Plaza, and student government.

The other, the Student Union Fee/UU Budget, funds the Rec Center, the University Union, sports complex, and maintenance.

The Children’s Center offers a variety of programs, including the infant-toddler program, transition program, preschool, kindergarten and Poly Trekkers, a summer program for school-aged children. For most of the programs, there is a ratio of one adult for every three to eight children.

Currently, 16 full-time employees and 125 student employees work for the Children’s Center. All full-time employees have bachelor’s degrees in child development, early childhood development or a related field.

The Children’s Center has existed on campus for more than 20 years, Broom said. She compared the current Children’s Center, which has been in its present location next to Warren’s Baker’s campus residence, to the trailer it once operated out of before 1993.

The Children’s Center is separate from the child development department lab, which is near the Robert E. Kennedy Library.

Students, faculty and staff may bring their children to the center, and depending on income and other factors, some full-time students may receive a discount on enrollment fees for their children. Depending on the program and whether children remain at the center for part or all of the day, students parents may pay around $23 and $34 per day; staff and faculty pay around $26 to $38 a day, and alumni and community members pay $28 to $44 daily.

“The prices are very competitive,” said Broom. “I’m sure students and faculty appreciate the childcare opportunities available at the Children’s Center.”

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