CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Kanawha County Schools is looking at a new pay structure that could keep the West Virginia Public Employees, Elk Center and Shawnee Community day cares open past June 30.
This comes one week after parents were told the Kanawha County Schools Community Education Program would close the three day cares by March 28 because of a $65,000 annual deficit and growing renovation costs.
One day after the announcement, it was decided the day cares would actually stay open until the end of the fiscal year so the 120 affected families can have more time to find a new child care provider.
The fate of the three day cares is still undecided, but Bob Calhoun, director of elementary education, is working through budgets to find a way to save them.
Calhoun has met with Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's office to find an alternative to closing, but he doesn't want to give specific numbers until everything is figured out sometime next week.
"I'd be afraid to venture at this point," Calhoun said. "I don't want to put out a number and it be completely wrong."
Calhoun said raising fees goes against Kanawha County's purpose to have the cheapest day care programs, but it is the only way to stay open and be financially viable.
"(Being affordable) is kind of our mantra," he said. "Our day cares are operated as a service to the community. We don't seek to be profitable."
Public Employees' current tuition for infants (the most expensive child care age group) is $140 per week. Elk Center charges $105 for children between ages 2 and 5.
Superintendent Ron Duerring said at the county board of education meeting last week that each day care will have to "dramatically" raise tuition and fees to make up for the $65,000 loss.
Some parents and grandparents like Elaine Kerr said they would pay more to keep their kids in day care.