The future of Newton Community Childcare is murky, at best, right now — and that has some worried about the availability of childcare in the city

“Newton desperately needs childcare, especially for infants,” said Sylvia C. Sandoval, director of Newton Community Childcare. “Family First and us are the only two that have infant childcare.”

Sandoval told The Kansan she will be invited to the next Newton USD 373 Board of Education meeting to answer questions the board members have. She is not speculating about what those questions are, or what the board may be voting on at that time.

“I am more of a factual person,” Sandvoal said.

However, a new release sent to the Newton Kansan Monday stated “Unfortunately, we have recently learned the local school district will no longer be able to provide space at this location and Newton Community Childcare Center will need to move.”

Newton USD 373 adminstrators discussed with the board of education at its most recent meeting a need for more classroom space in Cooper Early Education Center as HeadStart explores moving to an all day program. An all day program is part of future grant requirements for HeadStart funding. 

The board of education tabled the action at that time. The board is expected to take action in Jaunary. 

The childcare center has been at Cooper Early Education Center since 2011. Cooper Early Education Center operates a preschool/pre-kindergarten program that includes Head Start students at 810 Oak Street. Prior to moving to Cooper, the childcare center was located in a building at Newton Medical Center with a second location at Asbury Park.

The childcare center currently is licensed for nine infants, 10 toddlers, 17 preschoolers and 19 prekindergarten students. Fees range of $135 to $172.50 weekly. At this time the center is not at capacity, with a total of 34 students in four classrooms in the building. The center's website lists 10 staff members.

Sandoval said she does not know if the center will be able to move, or what the future will hold. The center has a contract with USD 373 for space in Cooper Early Education Center that expires June 30, 2019. Sandoval told The Kansan the intention is to operate the childcare center through the end of the school year.

“I wish I had a crystal ball and could tell you (what this means). I actually do not know right now,” Sandoval said. “Someone could step up with a building. We could shut down. It could go either way. We are in limbo until something is figured out.”

According to a news release, Newton Community Childcare Center is financially stable. However, finding a new facility is an unexpected expense “that will require help from the community.”