Sarah Mincey and her 16-month-old son Silas are happy at Indiana University’s Knee High Cooperative Daycare, where parents work shifts as volunteer caregivers and the cost is just a fraction of other IU day care centers with professional staff.
At their Sept. 19 meeting, Bloomington Faculty Council members discussed closing that cooperative and IU’s Sunflower Cooperative Daycare. Mincey was angry and anxious, her knee bouncing up and down as she listened to the discussion. She and other parents had not been consulted before the decision was made.
Since, they have met with administrators and compiled a fact sheet, but the two cooperative day care facilities started at IU in the 1960s will be closed in August.
“It’s devastating,” Mincey said.
In a letter to affected families, IU Provost Lauren Robel offered an explanation for closing Knee High and Sunflower cooperative day cares. She noted a desire for all of IU’s child care facilities to be accredited, which is not possible under the cooperatives’ existing model of care.
The letter acknowledged child care is “among the most personal of decisions,” and offered to provide assistance in creating a cooperative off campus. It also stressed a plan to expand IU’s Campus Children’s Center by 40 spaces. Co-op families will be given priority placement, but for some of those families, cost makes the facility inaccessible.
Mincey pays about $250 a month at the cooperative, about the cost of one week of care at IU’s accredited facilities.