I was reading the Times Editorial (from the Tuesday, Dec. 6 edition) – “Here’s how to make big splash downtown and beyond” and while I am all for developing our downtown area and to fill a HUGE need here is Crookston, such as child day care, I don’t believe we need a day care center in downtown Crookston.

    I was reading the Times Editorial (from the Tuesday, Dec. 6 edition) – “Here’s how to make big splash downtown and beyond” and while I am all for developing our downtown area and to fill a HUGE need here is Crookston, such as child day care, I don’t believe we need a day care center in downtown Crookston.

    The UMC Early Childhood Education program is a great asset we have in town, but to add another day care center in town I don’t believe is the right direction.  

    To be honest it’s a little spendy compared to what my wife and I are paying for day care.  

    I spoke to one of the women over at UMC and they quoted me their prices:

    •    Infant (6 weeks – 16 months) $35 a day
    •    Toddler (16 months – 33 months) $30 a day
    •    Preschool (33 months to kindergarten) $27 a day

    Now that’s a full day from 7:30am-5:30pm, with breakfast, lunch, snacks, etc. and not including diapers.

    I can only go off of what my wife and I pay for our one year old.  When we first found our day care provider, Jill Schulz, she was the only one available when it came to a new-born opening and thank goodness it was a reasonable price.  Jill only charges $23 a day regardless of the ages of the kids and provides all of the services UMC does and even opens early at 6:45am.

    Jill and I were having a conversation just the other day before the Times Editorial came out about what to do with the day care shortage.  Jill called herself a small business owner, and rightly so, because along with providing a service for a fee she has costs just like any other small business.

    Jill said that one reason why more women don’t start their own in-home day cares is not only the will to take care of children, but start up costs.  She quoted me that she paid $200-$300+ and that all included licensing, background check (for anyone living in the house 12 years and older), fire department walk through, fire extinguishers, and any updates to the house for safety (i.e. gates, plug protectors, door knob covers, drawer latches, cabinet locks, etc.).

    I called the City of Crookston and got a hold of Angel Weasner in finance and I asked if Crookston use to provide grants for in-home day care providers for startup costs just like the ones I spelled out above.  She said that she had no knowledge of grants for day care providers in the past, but that someone is looking into it, be it the city council or someone there at the office.

    Now these grants would, I hope, come with strings, like once up and running a day care must continue to be open for a year or more, and if they did not they had to pay back that money.  That way people wouldn’t start up and deflate in a short time after starting.

    I believe that this is a great step forward in combatting this need for day care in Crookston.  If the city of Crookston would provide such a program it would be a simple economic incentive to help women around Crookston to startup their own business and work from home.  

    I don’t know about you, but I like that my fee is $23 a day compared to the statewide average for infants of $31.90 according to childcareawaremn.org.  And I like that I have only one person to hold accountable for my child instead of several at a day care center.

    PS: And please don’t take this as a jab at UMC or any other day care center, I’m betting they are great at their jobs and provide quality and safe service to all of their kids.  I personally like my day care provider Jill Schulz and would refer her to any parent in Crookston, and I hope every parent who has a child in day care would say the same about their provider.

Aaron Horak
Crookston