Melissa Hite and her friends didn’t quit.
As tireless crusaders to save the Periwinkle Child Development Center on the Linn-Benton Community College campus in Albany, Hite and other parents now have a chance to see some success come from their efforts.
The college has not revived PCDC in its original form, but it has agreed to support a one-room version of the program if Hite and her colleagues can meet specific stipulations.
“We have to come up with secured financing and arrange for interns and student teachers for this fall,” Hite said. “We have about a month to get it done.”
College officials announced in February the program would be eliminated as part of cost-cutting efforts to help alleviate a projected $5 million loss of state funds. Almost immediately, Hite and other supporters of the program moved to fight LBCC’s decision.
If the group is successful, PCDC in its new version will move to a one-room site in the same facility that will house the Head Start program, which will take over the bulk of PCDC’s former responsibilities in child care for student-parents.
“Head Start is a great program but some of us who used PCDC don’t qualify for it,” Hite said.
Originally Hite and her group were hoping to save the entire program but now will settle for what they can get.
They’ll need at least 20 children enrolled, she said, with registration fees to cover the cost. The problem is time.
“Right now we just need those 20 to sign up. We don’t need any deposit, just a commitment to be part of the program next year,” she said. “We hope a set enrollment will prove to the budget committee that we can cover the cost.”
Once she gets 20 kids registered, Hite says a search for additional donations will begin. Hite has been working with Beth Hogland, who is currently in charge of the LBCC preschool.
The idea is to keep the program as close to the original PCDC program as possible, with care costs under $300 a month. There would be a lead teacher and several interns and student teachers, probably from Oregon State University or Western Oregon. Parents could also fill spots.
“We would, of course, like to use people from our own program but we don’t know,” Hite said. “Western is very interested and I’m waiting for the green light from OSU.”
Hite admitted there are no guarantees but said she was told that if the proposals are met and presented to the budget committee, chances were good. She is half way to meeting the requirements and expects to meet all within two weeks.
Hite said those interested in signing up can leave information online at pcdcfriends.wordpress.com or contact her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org to get a form. A meeting will be held from 6 to 8 tonight in room 105 of the PCDC building for interested parents.