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New Texas Guidelines will Ensure that Daycares will not Survive

  • 1.  New Texas Guidelines will Ensure that Daycares will not Survive

    Posted 8 days ago
      |   view attached
    Yesterday the Governor of Texas announced that all day cares could be open.  Now there has never been an order from the Governor mandating that Day Cares had to close during the Covid 19 crisis.  In fact day cares were encouraged to stay open for "Essential Worker" employees and then at one point, day cares were restricted to only taking in "Essential Worker" students.  The rest of the time the needs of the day cares in terms of their financial and operational struggles were pretty much ignored by the Governor's office.  Centers that closed did so because they couldn't afford to stay open, not because they were mandated too.

    So now the Governor wants to make it sound like he has done this grand gesture by saying "all" day cares can be open.  The good news is that centers are no longer restricted to only Essential Worker students which gives the centers more options for enrollments.  However the extremely bad news is that in order for centers to stay open or reopen they have to comply with a new 13 page document and significantly modified child care ratios that reduce the amount of revenue that can be generated per class group and increase the labor costs at the same time.  Here is an example of the new ratios:

    0-11        ratio 1-4    no more than 8 children in the room and they have to be divided into two groups                                 Reduced by (2)
    12-17     ratio 1-5     no more than 10 children in the room and they have to be divided into two groups                               Reduced by (3)
    18-23     ratio 1-7     no more than 14 children in the room and they have to be divided into two groups                               Reduced by (4)
    2 yrs      ratio 1-8     no more than 16 children in the room and they have to be divided into two groups                               Reduced by (6)
    3 yrs      ratio 1-10   no more than 20 children in the room (these children wont be able to remain in two groups?)          Reduced by (10)
    4 yrs      ratio 1-10   no more than 20 children in the room (these children won't be able to remain in two groups?)          Reduced by (8 or 15)
    5 yrs      ratio 1-10   no more than 20 children in the room and they have to be divided into two groups                            Reduced by (12 or 15)
    6-8 yrs   ratio 1-10   no more than 20 children in the room and they have to be divided into two groups                            Reduced by (16)
    9-13 yrs ratio 1-10   no more than 20 children in the room and they have to be divided into two groups                            Reduced by (16)
                                                                                                                                                                                 Total Reduction (77 students)
    So this means instead of needing 5 teachers for your 3yr-13yrs based on the old ratios you will now need 10 teachers for that same # of students and that's just for one (8 hour) shift and have the space to divide into two separate groups.
    Obviously there were no childcare business owners utilized to come up with these numbers which is typical of how these things get decided
    in Austin.  Please review the attached document and let me know if you are assessing this the same way I am.  I don't see how this helps
    us at all.

    With the new ratios and guidelines in place, I cannot see how a childcare center that is used to operating with 120 paying students can survive if they are limited to around 70 students based on their available space and the new ratio mandates and they have to add 5 additional staff if they want to go above that number.  If someone can figure out a budget that works with these numbers, please let me know.


    ------------------------------
    Tim Kaminski
    Director/Owner
    Gingerbread Kids Academy
    Richmond TX
    ------------------------------


  • 2.  RE: New Texas Guidelines will Ensure that Daycares will not Survive

    Posted 8 days ago
    Tim,
    I am in Illinois and to be honest I pray that some of those ratios apply to us. Many of those are our ratios in good times. We are hearing we may not be able to have those ratios. Rule of thumb may be no more than 10 in  a room. That would be 8 infant, toddlers and 2 year olds plus teachers.  Then 9 plus teachers in all other rooms. For my very large center that is a reduction of approximately 155 children. There are also rumors that it could be this way for a while. We are not even considering opening until July 6th when our state goes to phase 4 of reopening. To say we are nervous is an understatement.

    ------------------------------
    Melissa Corcoran
    The Learning Tree
    Elgin IL
    ------------------------------



  • 3.  RE: New Texas Guidelines will Ensure that Daycares will not Survive

    Posted 7 days ago
    Your ratios are high compared to most states and it would mean less staff. Less kids allowed less staff. Maybe consider a tuition increase based on safety needs band needs to divide. Also if your center is large consider keeping some rooms closed as you reopen. Mass has not received guidelines yet but we know ratios will be reduced and we will have to keep kids socially distant.  Our ratios are already lower than those you stated above. If you serve snack you can reduce costs by having kids bring their own because of the current situation.  Good Luck it will not be easy but it can be done.

    ------------------------------
    Hilary Peak
    Preschool/Toddler Teacher
    Worcester JCC
    Worcester MA
    ------------------------------



  • 4.  RE: New Texas Guidelines will Ensure that Daycares will not Survive

    Posted 5 days ago
    Hi Hillary,

    How were the centers in your area surviving before on the lower ratios that were in place?  Were they profitable and what were they paying their staff?  We have been in business for 39 years working with our previous higher ratios and have had very successful programs and maintained a good reputation in our communities.  Even operating at the max ratios, we never had a major issue with any of our centers including with illnesses.  The reason for that success was having strong managers and doing lots of training with our staff, but also having income from our after-school programs that help supplement our bottom line from the two primary ECE locations whose profit margins were lower than the after-school programs.  Without the income from those programs we would not have been able to afford all of that training and maintain our high standards of building maintenance and cleaning.  Now all of 5 of our after-school locations have been closed since March with no signs of ever reopening.  That represents a loss of $40,000.00 gross per month of revenue.  Our other two primary locations used to generate $80,0000 and $48,000.00 of gross revenue per month, but have seen that decrease to $36,000.00 and $20,0000 per month prospective based on the limitations of the new ratios standards and peoples fears of returning based on Covid.  The people that are making the decisions about how and if we can be open don't have a clue about how these changes hinder our business.  If the local, state and federal government aren't going to provide some immediate financial relief that are not loans that have to be paid back, there is no way centers will survive.

    ------------------------------
    Tim Kaminski
    Director/Owner
    Gingerbread Kids Academy
    Richmond TX
    ------------------------------



  • 5.  RE: New Texas Guidelines will Ensure that Daycares will not Survive

    Posted 7 days ago
    Tim:
    I understand the dilemma.  These new ratios are similar to what many states already had as their normal ratios.  The Mass. regulations will be released soon, as a draft.  They will most likely also include a reduction in the number of children allowed in each group.  I think this is prudent, though difficult.  I hope there's funding to help centers to stay open with new regulations in place.

    ------------------------------
    Aren Stone
    she/her/hers
    Child Development Specialist
    The Early Years Project
    Cambridge, MA
    ------------------------------



  • 6.  RE: New Texas Guidelines will Ensure that Daycares will not Survive

    Posted 5 days ago
    Hi Aren,

    We can't just hope for funding, we have to demand that there is funding before we are going to be able to comply with the new standards.  I don't understand how centers in other states were making it before on the lower ratios.  They couldn't have been financially solvent based on what it truly costs to provide care versus what they can charge to cover that care.  Just because other states had lower rates doesn't mean that was a good thing from a business perspective.  That is why we are hearing that so many centers have closed and will not be able to reopen.  They weren't making enough money before in order to have any savings or reserves to carry them through a bad time.  In Texas, based on our old standards, I was able to build up a reserve, but only by having multiple locations which included off-site after-school programs that had higher profit margins which helped support our two main locations.  However not that our 5 after-school locations are permanently closed, the two primary centers will have to make it on their own, but that is not possible with the new lower ratios.

    ------------------------------
    Tim Kaminski
    Director/Owner
    Gingerbread Kids Academy
    Richmond TX
    ------------------------------



  • 7.  RE: New Texas Guidelines will Ensure that Daycares will not Survive

    Posted 4 days ago
    A business model is not a smart or sustainable way to care for others. Care of children is our collective responsibility and should be recognized as a public good, not a private matter. The crisis has revealed this again. Our already under valued and under resources fractured systems of care must be reimagined. We will never achieve pay equity and high quality care for all until care is recognized and valued as a public good. 

    Sent from my iPhone





  • 8.  RE: New Texas Guidelines will Ensure that Daycares will not Survive

    Posted 7 days ago
    We have been open for essential workers since this all started but now with Phase 1 are open to others but with lots of restrictions; only 5 in a room for Infants and 10 to a room for all others including staff.  We had to stagger return dates for others, but will have problems if we don't move into Phase 2 soon so that the others can return as all our rooms are now full. I have staff that are uncomfortable with even those numbers due to exposure.  It's a challenge to follow all the guidelines, we are working twice as hard, but at least I feel comfortable we are keep children and staff as safe as possible. Shame on your governor though, all LA centers that are eligible for child care assistance have received grants to help alleviate the extra costs.  Our state has been a great support through all of this!

    ------------------------------
    Pamela Brignac
    Early Learning Center
    Baton Rouge LA
    ------------------------------



  • 9.  RE: New Texas Guidelines will Ensure that Daycares will not Survive

    Posted 5 days ago
    Hi Pamela,

    The "grants" or funding that has been made available has only been going to centers that were originally participating in the States Subsidy programs.  Centers that were primarily private pay, have not had access to that money or if they did not have any subsidized students at the time of the crisis or a small number of subsidized kids they have reached a much smaller amount of that financial support.  When the standards were announced on Monday it was along with the announcement that we could now take non-essential worker kids.  However with the new lower ratios, were already almost at those numbers so there isn't room for those other students to come back unless we higher more staff.

    ------------------------------
    Tim Kaminski
    Director/Owner
    Gingerbread Kids Academy
    Richmond TX
    ------------------------------



  • 10.  RE: New Texas Guidelines will Ensure that Daycares will not Survive

    Posted 7 days ago
    I am so very sorry this is such a burden for childcare businesses in Texas! That said, your 'new' ratios match very closely to our 'normal' ratios! Wow.

    ------------------------------
    ANIKA BLUM
    Owner/Director
    LITTLE TIGERS LEARNING CENTER
    Adel IA
    ------------------------------



  • 11.  RE: New Texas Guidelines will Ensure that Daycares will not Survive

    Posted 5 days ago
    How did ya'll make it financially before on  the lower ratios?  How big were your centers?  What did you charge and were you profitable?

    ------------------------------
    Tim Kaminski
    Director/Owner
    Gingerbread Kids Academy
    Richmond TX
    ------------------------------



  • 12.  RE: New Texas Guidelines will Ensure that Daycares will not Survive

    Posted 5 days ago
    We're new, only open 2 years with a brand new building, so we wouldn't have without the PPP and some other small business grants. This is much more of a passion/long term investment. A child under 2yrs is $240 per week for tuition.

    ------------------------------
    ANIKA BLUM
    Owner/Director
    Little Tigers Learning Center &
    Little Tigers Clubhouse
    Adel IA
    ------------------------------



  • 13.  RE: New Texas Guidelines will Ensure that Daycares will not Survive

    Posted 7 days ago
    Hi Tim - You are accurate in your assessment. Based on the great support we've received from Workforce Solutions so far, I'm going to be optimistic and hope that this is short term, and as the virus subsides we will be allowed to go back to our old ratios.  If not, as you point out, we've all got a real problem.  Hang in there.

    Ed Bradley
    Kyle's Bright Beginnings Learning Center

    ------------------------------
    Edward Bradley
    COO
    Kyle's Bright Beginnings Learning Center
    New Braunfels TX
    ------------------------------



  • 14.  RE: New Texas Guidelines will Ensure that Daycares will not Survive

    Posted 5 days ago
    Hi Ed,

    My wife and I have very good friends that live in New Braunfels and we visit them quite often.  We will have to try to connect the next time we come up there to visit.  Through this whole ordeal, I have been direct contact with Kim Kofron, who is the Executive Director for TXAEYC, and few other Executive Directors from some of
    the other childcare advocates in Texas.  Kim has been funneling information to the Governor's Strike Force and has sat in on some of the meetings to express our concerns and interest.  She says that the Strike Force Group still doesn't get how much more money needs to be directed towards the childcare centers and not just via the subsidy program, as many centers do not participate in that program due to the low reimbursement rates.  All 5 of my after-school programs have been closed since the school districts closed and based on what I have heard we wont' be able to reopen them in the Fall.  We have two primary locations and both have seen at least a 75% drop in revenues.  We were hopeful that would change on Monday when the Governor announced that we could start taking back in students of non-essential workers, but then we saw the new ratio standards and we had to pivot again.  I'm working on a financial model to see what is going to work best under the new restrictions, but with our previous overhead and mortgages on our new center it is definitely a challenge

    ------------------------------
    Tim Kaminski
    Director/Owner
    Gingerbread Kids Academy
    Richmond TX
    ------------------------------



  • 15.  RE: New Texas Guidelines will Ensure that Daycares will not Survive

    Posted 4 days ago
    Tim,
    Now you've got 2 sets of friends in New Braunfels!  Please reach out to me if you're in the area.  Although we spent a career in corporate life, we've only been in childcare for a year.  I'd love to pick your brain and hear your perspective.  Hang in there.

    ------------------------------
    Edward Bradley
    COO
    Kyle's Bright Beginnings Learning Center
    New Braunfels TX
    ------------------------------



  • 16.  RE: New Texas Guidelines will Ensure that Daycares will not Survive

    Posted 2 days ago
    Hi Edward,

    I too came out of Corporate America prior to getting into this field. I was in healthcare for 25+ years and now I have been in ECE for the past 12 years.  The ECE field is not known for having sound business practices so I was able to take what I had learned from my corporate life and super impose that onto the childcare business that my mom had established 27 years previously.  We have now had the original business for 39 years as of this May and the new center we had opened had its 6 year anniversary in March as the Covid crisis was hitting.  With you guys being so new to the industry I can only imagine the challenges ya'll have faced as this pandemic has unfolded. Will definitely get in contact with you next time we are in New Braunfels.  You can e-mail your contact information to me at twkaminski@sbcglobal.net.

    Best regards.

    Tim

    ------------------------------
    Tim Kaminski
    Director/Owner
    Gingerbread Kids Academy
    Richmond TX
    ------------------------------



  • 17.  RE: New Texas Guidelines will Ensure that Daycares will not Survive

    Posted 7 days ago
    I agree with the other responses .    Your new ratios are better than NY were before Covid restrictions.
    We are now allowed to operate with 10 in a class room.   - ANY age group and that includes teachers .
    so even for 3 and 4 year old our new ratios are 1 teacher to 4 children since max class size is 10 children.

    NO ONE  in NY will be able to survive with these numbers unless the price of child care is doubled and we all know parents can't do that.

    ------------------------------
    DiAnn Belluccia
    Executive Director
    Kids Campus
    Lynbrook NY
    ------------------------------



  • 18.  RE: New Texas Guidelines will Ensure that Daycares will not Survive

    Posted 7 days ago

    Dear Diann, I am confused- where  are you finding changes in ratios in NY? I am also in NY and thus far we have no new regulations in childcare except for that teachers must wear masks. 

    Carol 



    ------------------------------
    Carol Murray
    Bard Nursery School
    Red Hook NY
    ------------------------------



  • 19.  RE: New Texas Guidelines will Ensure that Daycares will not Survive

    Posted 5 days ago
    Hi Carol,

    I just want to clarify that the new class sizes and restrictions I referred to came from an OCFS conference call for new COVID protocol for Long Island NY not all of NYS.    Sorry for not qualifying.


    ------------------------------
    DiAnn Belluccia
    Executive Director
    Kids Campus
    Lynbrook NY
    ------------------------------



  • 20.  RE: New Texas Guidelines will Ensure that Daycares will not Survive

    Posted 7 days ago

    hello Tim,

    Thanks for sharing this document, I will read through it later.


    I don't live in the US, but I do have a question for you Tim, & all the educators who have replied to your post - will the number of children in a classroom be based on the size of the class as well as the new requirements for social (perhaps that term should change to 'physical') distancing? In the UAE the regulations for class sizes in preschool is based on the size of the room and each child is expected to have a minimum amount of space. Thanks.



    ------------------------------
    Patricia Mezu
    Professional Minds FZ LLC
    www.prminds.org
    ------------------------------



  • 21.  RE: New Texas Guidelines will Ensure that Daycares will not Survive

    Posted 5 days ago
    Hello Patricia -
         In my state, the group size in a classroom was determined by two factors: ratio of student-to-teacher based on age, and allocating a specific square footage per student, which I can't recall right now. So for example, the ratio for 3-year-olds is 8 children with 1 teacher, and the physical space of their classroom in my school allows for a group size of 12 children with 2 teachers. With this new group size restriction of 10 bodies in a physical space, regardless of the allowable square footage or size of your rooms, centers are faced with turning students away and losing that revenue, or spreading staff across smaller groups if you have the space in your center to do this, or hiring more staff if you don't have enough teachers qualified to lead a class by themselves. It's complicated and financially detrimental and disheartening.

    ------------------------------
    Tina Summers
    Amherst NH
    ------------------------------



  • 22.  RE: New Texas Guidelines will Ensure that Daycares will not Survive

    Posted 5 days ago

    Thanks Tina,

    I can't imagine what you and other settings are going through. It seems At the moment there are no concrete solutions. Let's hope this will be temporary. 


    I now better understand what the restrictions mean - Regardless of class size, the maximum numbers remain the same. That must be frustrating and I assume there's no scope at this time to increase fees. It's a global issue. 


    im just getting ready to listen to a webinar about reopening in Europe and the U.K. it's great to be able to tap into what other countries are doing. 


    if you are interested here is the link

    https://upp1drho.videomarketingplatform.co/famly-sessions-2020-vol-2-reopening/join

    https://upp1drho.videomarketingplatform.co/famly-sessions-2020-vol-2-reopening/join

    best wishes,

    patricia 



    ------------------------------
    Patricia Mezu
    Professional Minds FZ LLC
    www.prminds.org
    ------------------------------



  • 23.  RE: New Texas Guidelines will Ensure that Daycares will not Survive

    Posted 4 days ago
    We haven't heard yet if our ratios will change here in Massachusetts, but I wonder, across the board, can we keep the same amount of children and teachers but just break the groups up differently and utilize outside as another "classroom". For example if you have a class of 12 with two teachers- 6 are in the indoor classroom with one teacher and 6 are in the outdoor classroom with one teacher. You then rotate that schedule daily.  Better yet...find more outdoor space so everyone can be outside with enough room to spread out.  We know now that the virus is much more likely to be passed person to person and not on surfaces...outside provides ample fresh air to carry those droplets away and to the ground rendering them inert.  I urge us all to work with our state licensing bodies for early education and care so that we are not creating another trauma experience for children as they return to our care.  We must focus on their emotional health as well as their physical health while considering the economical health of our programs.  Anything that you can do inside can be done outside and it is the BEST place to be...does anyone have a connection to LL Bean, REI etc. to get rain and snow gear discounts or donations for children and educators? That is one draw back to being outside all the time in all weather, while it is the healthiest , it is costly to have proper gear so children and educators can enjoy themselves outside in all types of weather.

    ------------------------------
    [Christine] [Heer, M.Ed.]
    [Director; Co-Owner]
    [Grow, Bloom & Thrive, LLC]
    [Dover] [MA]
    ------------------------------



  • 24.  RE: New Texas Guidelines will Ensure that Daycares will not Survive

    Posted 2 days ago
    We just received more updated Texas State Guideline (ie. licensing guidelines) today, 5/26/20 that contradict the new Governor's Guidelines that were issued last Monday 5/18/20.  Here is what the update says:

    Should I follow the modified child care ratios?

    Yes, to the extent possible, you should follow the modified child care ratio chart on page 6 of the Open Texas Checklist for Child Care Operations. Modified ratios will allow you to implement social distancing strategies and help to reduce the close contact exposure should a child or caregiver test positive at your operation. We recommend group sizes be stable, with the same children and caregiver in the same group every day, this includes all age groups. These groups can be in the same room but caregivers, to the extent possible, should enforce the separation of the groups.

    Will I be cited if I do not follow the modified child care ratios?

    No, the modified child care ratios are not Minimum Standards nor Emergency Rule and cannot be cited. Child Care Regulation will enforce Minimum Standards related to Child/Caregiver Ratios and Group Sizes.

    However, last Monday, the information we received along with the new ratios said this:

    (g) If this emergency rule is more restrictive than any minimum standard relating to the operations addressed by this rule, this emergency rule will prevail so long as this emergency rule is in effect.(h) If an executive order or other direction is issued by the Governor of Texas, the President of the United States, or another applicable authority, that is more restrictive than this emergency rule orany minimum standard relating to the operations addressed in this emergency rule, the operations must comply with the executive order or other direction

    So who are we to believe?  Arrghhh!  The right hand and the left hand need to slap each other!



    ------------------------------
    Tim Kaminski
    Director/Owner
    Gingerbread Kids Academy
    Richmond TX
    ------------------------------



  • 25.  RE: New Texas Guidelines will Ensure that Daycares will not Survive

    Posted 6 days ago
    Hello -
    We received a similar guidance document here in New Hampshire on Monday. Childcare centers here have been closed since mid-March, unless you obtained a waiver to operate as an Emergency Childcare Program to serve essential workers. We anticipated that the emergency operating guidelines would roll over to the rest of us, and that is what happened on Monday. Concerns were forwarded to the state house, and the governor announced yesterday that his Reopening Taskforce will reassess the guidelines - including the reduced group size and staff wearing masks while teaching. I am hopeful we can find a middle ground. NH is much smaller than TX so access to our state reps may be  different, but can you voice your concerns?

    ------------------------------
    Tina Summers
    Amherst NH
    ------------------------------



  • 26.  RE: New Texas Guidelines will Ensure that Daycares will not Survive

    Posted 6 days ago
    Good Morning Tim,
    This is absolutely ridiculous! Daycares have never had the support and respect needed. Everyone knows that the first 5 years of a child's life are the most important and crucial years. However. As childcare professionals, we are not giving the right tools to succeed. This just sucks. I am sorry. I should be more encouraging. I just can't help it.
    Hopefully we can come out of this fog.

    ------------------------------
    Sandra Rodriguez
    Director
    Beautiful MInds Academy LLC
    Orange City FL
    ------------------------------



  • 27.  RE: New Texas Guidelines will Ensure that Daycares will not Survive

    Posted 6 days ago

    Tim,

    I hear your frustration. Yet, other administrators mention these ratios are not unusual for some programs. I wonder if the question is not about ratios but how to create a new approach to ECE that works for everyone involved. I, for one, do not want to go back to the way it was.

    I believe we need to create a "New normal". Maybe that means programs will not be as large as they were before. Maybe it means more parents will continue to work from home and spend more time with their children so there will be less need for "out-of-home" care. Maybe it means educators will have smaller class sizes and have more time to "Really See Children". I'm not saying I agree with the directives coming from your governor. I do agree that you and other ECE leaders in your state need to be involved in a process of creating new systems that work to provide what's best for children.

    Pelo and Carter, in from Teaching to Thinking: A Pedagogy for Reimagining Our Work, write that "disequilibrium is a gift". Everyone in the field is certainly in a state of disequilibrium as a result of the pandemic. Maybe one of the questions to explore is "How can we find the gifts that will evolve from these challenges?" 

     



    ------------------------------
    Linda Boss
    Instructor
    University of WI - Platteville
    Lewistown PA
    ------------------------------



  • 28.  RE: New Texas Guidelines will Ensure that Daycares will not Survive

    Posted 5 days ago
    Mr. Kaminski,

    Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe the point of your post isn't specifically about the ratios (If they are higher or lower in some states or not) but that they require a reduction in the number of students you can have enrolled and therefore paying in addition to the need to hire more staff.  This would result in a reduction in income and an increase in expenses.

    I am relatively certain that you are already charging what the market can bear for your area that is also in keeping with the services you offer, so I'm doubtful that an increase in fees would actually result in you recovering the potential lost income.  I also doubt that the states will authorize more generous payments that they already do for things such as VPK or USDA or School Readiness if they have those programs in your area.

    I am certain that your teachers will be thrilled with the lower ratios as will the children themselves as may you.  But if you cannot afford to keep your doors open then it doesn't really matter what the ratios are.  Please let me know if I'm putting words in your mouth, but I believe that is the message you are sending to us.

    A center that had 1 classroom for each of the listed age groups would be looking at a reduction in enrollment of slightly over 50% while at the same time looking at an increase in staffing.  How many childcare centers can afford something like that?

    If you were in a state or area where you could charge higher fees, I'm sure you already would be doing so.  You probably won't be able to cut staffing costs either and if you modify or drop aspects of your program, I would put money down that your current parents will buck about paying their old rates, if not immediately than eventually.  On top of all of this, we all have the increase cost in cleaning due to more frequent cleanings.  In other words, the expenses are going up but the income from fees has either stayed the same or gone down.  This is not a successful recipe for a business to survive.  And to make matters even better, if centers remain closed until everything is declared "safe" how much of our enrollment will remain?


    ------------------------------
    John Krantz
    Pensacola FL
    ------------------------------



  • 29.  RE: New Texas Guidelines will Ensure that Daycares will not Survive

    Posted 5 days ago

    Hi John,

    You are correct. My overriding issue is how will I be able to cover my expenses with a decrease in revenues.  I have been at this for 12 years now and my family has done this for 39 years.  We started out with one location, then got into the after-school business and 6 years finally reached of point of being able to build a 10,000 sq ft new state of the art ECE Academy location for a total of 7 locations serving around 500 students across all off the locations with 45 staff.  Our new center was designed for up to 22 students for each classroom 18 months to Age 5, and then our after-school program area for 26 students.  Our Infant and Toddler classrooms were designed for up to 15 students.  Each classroom was staffed based on the states ratios at the time for the different age groups and we stayed around 90% occupancy.  Our tuition rates were from $210-$230 per week.  Our tuition rates our at other location were $155-$160.00.  That locations is licensed for 90 students and average 85 students.  Our 5 after-school programs were each licensed for 48 students, stayed full and our rates there were $70.00 per week.

    During the last several years, every time the idea of reducing teacher to student ratios would come up at the state level or even national level, I would have to explain to those groups, that when you reduce a classroom ratio by one student, on average it increases the weekly cost for the remaining students by $30 each depending on the original class room ratio size.  As a business person, I cannot absorb the loss of that revenue without either reducing by expenses for that group of kids or increasing the rates per kid for that classroom.  It is pure economics 101.  The other reason I am able to charge a lower rate at our original location is that the overhead costs are lower there.  Everything is paid off at that location and has been paid for the past 30 years.  It also requires fewer staff at that location to operate that center so our payroll is smaller.

    I am not opposed to lower classroom ratios if there is a way to pay us and make up the difference of the lost income and increased cost to provide the service by having to add more staff.  To date no one has been able to or willing to give an answer to that.  The current subsidy programs are flawed and have never reimbursed centers at 100% of their published rates, therefore the childcare center ends up taking a loss on every subsided kid and payments come two weeks after the service which makes cash flow an issue.

    For all of the people that have responded that the new ratios for Texas are now at the levels their states have been at, I would ask them how have they been able to make it financially with those ratios?  What rates do you charge?  Does your states subsidy program cover 100% of the fees?  What are you paying your staff an do they get benefits?  We here nationally that daycares for years have struggled to make it and the industry is on the brink of collapse.  The reason we are here is that typically the people that get into the industry do so due to their love of kids and not their love of business.  Therefore they make sacrifices and accept less for what they do.  Profitable businesses don't due that.   Also the people that advocate for young children and ECE also usually don't have any experience running a business much less a childcare business.  There has to be a balance the love for children and good financial business practices in order the daycare industry to survive.  There are two options.  Accept the fact that if you are going to have low tuition rates, then you have to make up for that in volume of students, or subsidy that covers all of the other expenses.  Or if you want low ratios, you have to charge higher tuition rates that actually match you cost of providing the service along with a profit.  However you can have it both ways.

    As I have said before the new lower ratio standards for Texas are going to kill the daycares in our area.  There is no current business model available that can make this sustainable over time.  If anyone has a successful business model that does support these new standards and still allows the center to make a profit and pay its staff decent wages, please send it to me.  I am at a loss as of what to do!



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    Tim Kaminski
    Director/Owner
    Gingerbread Kids Academy
    Richmond TX
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  • 30.  RE: New Texas Guidelines will Ensure that Daycares will not Survive

    Posted 4 days ago
    In Virginia your new ratios are about the same to our regular ones. Now, they allow up to 10 people, including teachers, in the same room, the recommendation is to divide the room, if the square footage allows 20 kids, come up with a room divider, it can be whatever, like toys, cubbies, etc. So the 2 groups don't mix in order to keep about the same amount of kids enrolled.
    I hope this helps.
    Claudia Robles
    Director
    Bilingualkid Language Immersion School

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    Claudia Robles Arias
    PBS. BilingualKid Language Immersion School
    Mechanicsvlle VA
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  • 31.  RE: New Texas Guidelines will Ensure that Daycares will not Survive

    Posted 3 days ago
    Hello Claiia! I have not been informed of the ability to divide the room. I understood Virginia needed to limit the room to 9 students and one teacher no matter where dividers are? I hope you are correct!

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    Bev Yoakum
    Director
    Hope Academy
    Virginia Bch VA
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  • 32.  RE: New Texas Guidelines will Ensure that Daycares will not Survive

    Posted 4 days ago
    This is truly a national conversation. We as an industry have been underfunded and making it work because of our dedication to the profession but it is now time to stand up and become vocal about how the industry will NOT survive as it is currently structured. In addition to that we are not seen as a "profession". How is it that the public school system without hesitation shut down to keep the children and staff safe and yet we are asked to "care" for the babies (0-5) with minimal guidance and minimal support for our staff. Young children are little petrie dishes on the best of days so in this environment it puts workers at much higher risk. Maintaining the level of sanitation and distance will be nearly impossible for this age group and developmentally inappropriate since they need social interaction.The national conversation is all about care and the word education is left out. The public needs to begin to understand what our role as educators of young children is and to respect and value it by giving us as an industry the same respect and thought as is given to the K-12 System.

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    Joan Parris
    Stamford CT
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  • 33.  RE: New Texas Guidelines will Ensure that Daycares will not Survive

    Posted 3 days ago
    Currently in Wisconsin you can only have 10 people in a room, 9 children and 1 teacher. Furniture doesn't count as a divider. Children cannot be mixed at any time during the day, most often there is 1 teacher sitting in each room with just 1 student at the beginning and end of the day. Additionally, outside spaces cannot be shared, students from 1 class cannot walk through the area used by another class. These regulations are highly restrictive and if they don't change, they will drive our center out of business.

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    Heather Finnegan
    Preschool Teacher
    Our Redeemer Lutheran Church with School
    Delavan WI
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  • 34.  RE: New Texas Guidelines will Ensure that Daycares will not Survive

    Posted 3 days ago

    Kentucky just received our childcare guidelines this past week to begin reopening in mid June. Our group number is a max of 10 children per room (lower for infants).  They are still working on an FAQ to come out with more detailed explanations.

    My question is for those of you who have started reopening under your new guidelines and new ratios, do you feel these will be expanded with time or these will remain and be the new norm. 



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    Lisa Houghlin
    Director
    Sacred Heart Preschool
    Louisville KY
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