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Concerned parents meet over Troy daycare's closure

May 31, 2019 11:15 PM

TROY – A heated meeting was held Friday night at the Samaritan-Rensselaer Children’s Center in Troy. Parents had the chance to ask questions to St. Peter’s Health Partners representatives about the day care closing on Sept. 15.

"This is family, you can't not fight for them,” said parent Allison Mahar.

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St. Peter’s Health Partners decided it no longer wanted to operate the center. They said the 92-year-old building on Burnett Avenue needs $3 million in repair. They said they considered moving to a different location, but that was also costly. Representatives said they’re confidant a new operator will step in and the day care will move to a new site by September. However, with no operator set in stone yet many parents said they need more definitive answers.

"You can't hope something is going to happen with so many lives involved,” said Mahar. “You have 150 young kids and you probably have 50 or 60 staff members that can't just put their life on hold for hope and wait.”

A big concern for parents is whether or not they need to start looking for a new day care. Many in the area already have a six month to one year waitlist.

“What surprised me was that he mentioned we should not look for new daycare at the moment and we should still be planning to stay here through September 15th,” said parent Sarah Dinolfo regarding the meeting. “However there is no plan after that, so if we do stay here and continue to pay for the three months then what happens in September? We may just get dropped with no care and that seems very capitalistic to me.”

Dinolfo said this would be a very difficult transition for parents, students and teachers.

"The community we created with these other parents is very strong and I don't want that to be ripped apart,” said Dinolfo.

St. Peter’s Health Partners representatives at the meeting Friday night said they left feeling more hopeful than ever that they would find a solution to this problem. However, parents said they need more of a guarantee.

"I really truly hope that they go back and talk to the higher ups and get together and think about okay is September 15th really a deadline, give us an extension and actually have a viable plan for these people’s lives,” said Mahar.

St. Peter’s Health Partners released the following statement:

St. Peter’s Health Partners has decided to transition the Samaritan-Rensselaer Child Care Center in Troy to another organization specializing in day care operations. This was a very difficult decision, and we know the parents of children at the center may be saddened by the news. We are very proud of the center, its incredible staff, and the outstanding care they provide. However, the 92-year-old building is in need of extensive renovations, and estimates for this work exceed $3 million. We evaluated moving the center to another St. Peter’s Health Partners facility, but retrofitting office or hospital space for a day care center would also be prohibitively expensive.

As a result, we are seeking another organization or entity to take over the day care program and operate it independent of St. Peter’s Health Partners at another location. Specifically, we are seeking an organization that is committed to maintaining the high level of quality that parents expect from the center, and that is committed to maintaining commensurate qualifications and compensation for the center's employees. We hope to complete the transition process by September, but will try to be flexible with that date in order to make the transition as smooth as possible for the center's students and their parents.

Credits

WNYT Staff

Copyright 2019 WNYT-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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