Tuesday, 19 November 2013

In My Little Town

Nothing but the dead and dying
Back in my little town
Simon & Garfunkel


We recently learned that the local council run childcare centre my son had attended for four years will be shutting down at the end of this year. This news saddens me a lot.
We have fond memories of the place. It was fairly obvious to us it offered superior quality care to all other childcare centres we have seen (and we have seen some). It had wonderful staff. And, more to the point, it offered us an opportunity to go to work while confident our son is being well looked after.
The latter should not be dismissed that easily: it is not easy to find good childcare nowadays, or even not that good childcare. The closing down of such facilities does not only mean lost carer jobs, it also means parents - particularly full time working parents - will not be able to go to work, too.
As usual, women will be the ones most hurt by this move.

And all for what?
Two years ago, we were told the council cannot afford to maintain the childcare centre.
Parents protested and organised to prove the council wrong. Surprised by the popularity of their plea, the soon to face an election council decided to suspend and potentially undo its previous decision.
The elections came with the childcare centre being high on its agenda. Perhaps because of that very matter, the former mayor was not reelected; one of the new mayor's core promises was to keep the childcare centre running.
Obviously, the new mayor failed. Why? Because, to quote the local council, the local council would have to provide an extra $2000 per child per year to keep the centre running. Pull your calculators out: If we are to assume the centre hosts 40 kids, we are talking about $80K a year. That is probably the cost of a single local council employee; it's a cost that could be mostly covered through marginal fee rises, too.

Clearly, someone is pulling the wool over our eyes.
In other words, it is clear the local council is closing down the centre because of some other agenda. If I were to speculate, I would put my money on them wanting to sell the land to a developer friend of a council member. Regardless, the council's persistence with its agenda of closing the centre down, spanning across both sides of an election, is to be admired.
If only they could persevere that way in helping residents instead of screwing them up.

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