Arroyo Grande council votes to cut childcare program

May 3, 2023

Arroyo Grande Mayor Caren Ray Russom


The Arroyo Grande City Council voted unanimously on April 24 to end its affordable childcare programs, after more than a dozen parents voiced their objections.

“This program was a huge lifeline for my kids and my family,” said Stacy Hall. “Please continue to keep this valuable program open and running. We’re going to put our kids first and do the right things for our kid.”

Since the 90s, the city has offered after school care, summer camps and preschool classes. There are currently 40 children enrolled in the program held at the Mark M. Millis Community Center.

However, the building is in need of repairs, which are expected to cost nearly $6 million. In addition, the child care programs are running at a loss of approximately $80,000 a year.

“We’ve been talking about these issues for years and years and years and years,” Mayor Caren Ray Russom said during the meeting. “It breaks my heart, but I don’t see a path forward.”

After the council voted 5-0 to end the program, it directed city staff to provide families with a list of childcare providers.

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Very disheartening to see programs cut for kids, while at the same time we read about the Supervisors looking for a juicy raise. Lets see, how the $ will change lives? Kids without the programs: parents barely getting by because now the expensive childcare will take a huge % of their income. Greatly lowering the ability to pay bills, etc..VS That extra $7k to $8k per year for the Sups? hmmm One less vacation?

A bad failing economy hurts us all… including government programs… if you want government to have programs that help underprivileged families we need a robust economy with low taxes to spur on job growth investment and dollars into the treasury at the state and the federal level…

I will never understand why so many can’t grasp this concept…..

Politics 101, when you don’t get your tax increase, in this case the sales tax, start working the public up by cutting things that you tie to children, safety or residents enjoyment instead of addressing the real issues. Expect of new tax or fee increase soon.

Does the city use that building for anything else? Is the building going to be repaired anyway? The answers must be no or else the families refused to pay the actual cost to preserve the after school program?

Too bad that sales tax vote failed.

Why would that matter? The program would still bleed $80,000 from even a fat bank account. Are you suggesting, we all should pay more to support a loss of revenue?

Rather , we should look at why the cost for this extended baby-sitting service, is obviously exorbitant.

Almost all government services operate at a loss – that’s sort of the point of why they’re government run, to address market failures. Should we not build roads since they are a loss of revenue?