Thompson: Breckenridge child care scholarship helps build a lasting community
November 19, 2013
After reading several letters in the Summit Daily that disapprove of the Breckenridge child care scholarship, I would like a voice from the other side to be heard.
We are long time locals; in fact, we have had family in the area for many generations.
My children happen to attend one of the local preschools (Little Red), and my husband and I both work full-time. We, along with 60% of the families attending the program, receive a scholarship. Let me be clear that both my husband and I have "good" jobs and by no means are we looking for a "government handout."
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services considers 10 percent of family income for child care as a benchmark for affordable care. The Breckenridge scholarship kicks in only after the family is spending 13 percent of their income. Additionally, Colorado is number 5 in the nation's least affordable states for cost of care. And according to Coldwell Banker's 2013 report, Breckenridge is ranked number 11 in priciest places to live.
With that said, this is still not a "give me money" or "pay for my child to attend school" letter; rather, a letter to voice facts about our community and its needs:
I think we all can agree that we want a balanced community of families, seniors, seasonal employees and young folks that intend to build a life here. Therefore ensuring that the sustainability and reputation of Breckenridge will continue for future generations.
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It is important that people understand that over 360 businesses have or have had employees that receive this scholarship for their children. Without these employees, these businesses would be burdened with the cost of training new employees and recurrent turnover. Furthermore, many of the families that benefit from this, are not just employees of local businesses but critical employees for our community such as, teachers, fire fighters, nurses, police officers and town employees.
Our community "feel" that we have worked so hard to build would suddenly become more transient. The scholarship is just one of the many programs the town has helped develop that allows us to call Breckenridge "home." There are many branches to the well being of our community and early education is the root system. Without the root system, the local community cannot thrive. This is the face of our community.
I believe that there needs to be a better, clearer understanding about how important this measure is to the community as a whole. If a property tax is not the best means, let's come together as a community to figure out what is the best route to continue this program.
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