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$1.4 billion for MI childcare providers unallocated; state lawmakers on summer recess

Published: Jul. 5, 2021 at 4:56 PM EDT
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CORUNNA, Mich. (WJRT) - State lawmakers and Governor Gretchen Whitmer have said recently that improving child care accessibility, funding and increasing enrollment are all major priorities -- especially as we emerge from the pandemic. But state lawmakers left last week to go on summer recess without allocating nearly $1.4 billion in coronavirus relief money for childcare providers.

It’s leaving people like Kendra Nichols who owns and runs Elite Early Learning Center in Corunna -- a little upset.

Why? because her child care is independently operated. She does not have the backing of a school or church.

She’s on her own. She has to make a living and so do her 21 employees.

“Even with what I feel like are peanuts that we pay to our child care providers who do it out of the goodness of their heart -- really the money needs to be allocated,” Nichols said.

It’s unclear how that $1.4 billion will be used and what specific strings may be attached -- that will be in the hands of the house and senate once they return from break.

But if Nichols had it her way, a big chunk of the money she receives would go toward an additional bathroom in the day care.

Currently, there is only 1 and because there’s only 1 -- she can only provide care for 15 kids.

“The bathroom would allow us to double the capacity for that building and that would be a long term fix.”

It is unclear how soon state lawmakers will decide how that $1.4 billion is divided up.

We do know both the House and the Senate are adjourned until at least mid July.

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