Meriden has just announced that it will no longer fund a local day care, and without that funding, the business will have to close, leaving parents scrambling.
After losing everything in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, single mom Joelyce Lugo is finding out now that she’s losing her job and day care for her 4-year-old son come August.
“It’s sad because now I need to start again with him,” she said.
Lugo is a teacher at the Women and Families Center on Colony Street. Meriden’s School Readiness Council has decided to stop funding the day care.
“I don’t have a car,” Lugo said. “I walk here every day with my boy. I live near here.”
Day care director Karen Yorker said the center is an affordable option for parents. They pay on a sliding scale. The decision to close will impact more than 60 families, and teachers will lose their jobs.
“It’s devastating I have teachers that I’ve been here for more than 20 years,” Yorker said. “I have parents who rely me, and children who love it here.”
“I never expected this,” said teacher Melissa McCray. “I expected to retire here. Twenty-seven years. You know I’m dedicated.”
Meriden Mayor Kevin Scarpati said the School Readiness Council voted to end the funding because of high turnover in the director position. He also said the money comes from a state grant and the quality of early education there is low.
“We will be working with families to ensure their children are enrolled in a high quality educational program at their ability to pay,” said Scarpati.
“It’s overwhelming,” said parent and teacher, Sullybeth Bonilla. “Honestly I haven’t been able to sleep during these past nights thinking about it. My brain just keep thinking about what am I going to do.”