Budget issues could force Walter Hammond Daycare to close - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Budget issues could force Walter Hammond Daycare to close

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QUINCY, Ill. (WGEM) -- For parents Walter Hammond Daycare offers a vital service.

"My kids love it here we have become almost like family," says Ashley Robertson.

Walter Hammond Daycare has offered daycare and preschool services for low income families since the mid 70's.

But state budget issues are putting those services in jeopardy.

"We're at a critical point, right now the state has not made payment to us since July," says Board President Jeanetta Green.

The centers pre-school service is one hundred percent funded by the state and offered to low income families free of charge.

"It's very important," says Cecil Weathers, whose son attends Walter Hammond.  "He's learned so much here, it's helped with his reading, his homework."

But because the state is behind on payments Walter Hammond has been forced to survive on income from the daycare service.

But because of high unemployment and layoffs daycare enrollment is down sharply this year from about 60 kids last year to about 35 this year, and that means the center is dealing with an even tighter budget.

"I'm an optimist," says Green.  "When they say close I don't like to consider it but it's actually an option."

While Green says she's trying to remain positive other center officials have a less optimistic outlook.

In fact Walter Hammond's director says if the center's financial situation doesn't improve they could be forced to close within a month, leaving employees without work and dozens of parents without childcare.

Walter Hammond's Director has filed a notice of hardship with the state to try to get funding released.

They're also turning to the community, asking any one who can to donate to help keep this critical service operating.

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