Education

SWIC board votes to eliminate childcare service at Belleville campus

Parent who used SWIC childcare reacts to elimination of program

Ashley Daniels has graduated from Southwestern Illinois College and started her own business. But while she was a student, she relied on the Belleville campus’ childcare service, Kids’ Club, which the board of trustees voted Wednesday to eliminate
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Ashley Daniels has graduated from Southwestern Illinois College and started her own business. But while she was a student, she relied on the Belleville campus’ childcare service, Kids’ Club, which the board of trustees voted Wednesday to eliminate

The Southwestern Illinois College Board of Trustees voted Wednesday to eliminate the Belleville campus’ childcare service, Kids’ Club.

Faculty, staff and students could use the service while they were on campus. But enrollment had been declining over the past several years, according to SWIC.

The vote to close Kids’ Club was 4-1. Board members Harry Briggs and Eugene Verdu weren’t present at the meeting.

The no vote came from board member John Blomenkamp, who had asked the board to table the vote at its December meeting.

Board chairman Nick Mance said he voted to close Kids’ Club for economic reasons. An estimated savings for the college wasn’t immediately available Wednesday night.

Three part-time employees from Kids’ Club — childcare specialists Michelle Herrera and Ashleigh Koshko, and administrative assistant Season LaFlam — will be honorably dismissed, effective Feb. 2.

SWIC graduate Ashley Daniels said after the meeting that she was disappointed to see the service cut.

Kids’ Club had allowed her to work two jobs on campus and a part-time job at a furniture store while she earned her associate’s degree in business, she said.

Daniels said she couldn’t afford other day care options for her daughter, Ava, while she was in school.

Kids’ Club charged $4-$5 per hour or $125 per week, according to SWIC’s website. Students could use federal money from a Pell Grant to pay their fees.

Daniels also liked that she could stop by to see Ava during breaks from class or work.

“We had a choice: We eat and I get to go to school and work, or I just work and don’t get to see my kids ever,” Daniels said.

Today, she owns a business — The Flip Side Decor & More — that offers painting, decorating and restoration services.

Students studying education at SWIC also used Kids’ Club to fulfill a degree requirement of observing at a childcare center.

LaDonna Andrew and Leroy Woolford each said it was convenient for them to have a place to do that on campus.

Andrew was pregnant when she was a student. Woolford was working full time.

“That’s what made me kind of interested in the college,” Woolford said.

Lexi Cortes: 618-239-2528, @lexicortes

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