Questions and answers pertaining to the university's recent decision to close the Agricultural Campus Daycare
Why is the daycare on the Agricultural campus closing?
Dalhousie University has made the very difficult decision to close the daycare on the Faculty of Agriculture campus. The daycare isn’t financially viable and last year operating costs exceeded revenues by $127,000. The centre’s last day of operation will be Friday, Sept. 2, 2016.
Our staff at the daycare centre are remarkable. They are caring, professional and dedicated. The daycare means a lot to the parents who use the centre, their children and the community, and we appreciate that this disruption may pose a significant inconvenience for some parents.
As difficult as the decision was, Dalhousie University has to be fiscally responsible.
For the daycare to be viable, the university would have to charge 100% more than the current rate per day, just to break even, even at full capacity. That would take us to $76 per day for childcare. This is not sustainable.
When will the daycare close?
The final day of operations will be Friday, Sept. 2, 2016. Staff and families who utilize the daycare have been given 11 weeks’ notice.
How many children will be affected?
There are 10 children who are enrolled in the daycare for September.
Can’t you just increase enrolment?
Our enrolments have been declining. We currently are licensed for 30 full-time children. Since September 2015, only 18 of those spaces were being used on a regular basis and only 10 children from the community and the campus are enrolled for September.
Even if enrolment increased the financial situation remains the same. With increased enrolment there would be increased staffing costs, due to the legislated 1:6 ratio of one teacher for six children.
What did the university do to make the daycare viable?
The university looked at a number of strategies in an effort to make the daycare financially viable and reduce costs, including:
- Created a new website for the centre.
- Designed and circulated a recruitment brochure.
- Introduced cost-saving measures such as taking advantage of a university sponsored sustainability program to have major appliances replaced with energy-efficient ones and upgraded the building’s insulation.
- The university stopped accepting credit and debit card payments to implement savings on transaction fees.
- Over the past three years the university introduced measures to balance staffing levels with enrolment demand. This ultimately resulted in a reduction in labour costs with the corresponding decline in enrolment from 25 to 18 over the same time.
What will parents do now?
We are hopeful 11 weeks’ notice allows them the time they need to find alternative care.