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Child Care is more needed than a mega-library

From: domainremoved <Osnat>
Date: Mon, 15 Jan 2018 21:41:26 -0800

Dear Council Members and Menlo Park Library Leaders:


It is with great disappointment that I have been following the recent
developments pertaining the proposed library expansion. It would be highly
irresponsible to continue a project that requires additional funding of
$40M of taxpayer money without considering what the public needs by putting
it up for vote. The question of the library should be considered in the
context of needs for other services on this location. There was hardly
enough outreach to the public and not nearly enough discussion on it.


Only recently we heard that there is intention to put the library on the
location of the current working facility of Menlo Children’s Center and
After Care programs. Those child-care programs have been serving thousands
of children 18 months through 5th grade (after school) over the years. Is a
new mega-library really more necessary than child-care in Menlo Park?


A needs assessment that was done in 2017 by San Mateo County shows that
there is a huge need (up three-fold for Infant care from 2009 and up by
almost ten-fold for Preschool age kids from 2009). The San Mateo county
report shows that in Menlo Park there is a current shortage of 322 spots
for infant care, 456 spots of preschool kids, and 692 of after-school
spots. You can see the full report here:


http://www.smcoe.org/assets/files/learning-and-leadership/child-care-partnership-council/Needs%20Assessment%202017/CCPC_Needs_Assessment_Menlo_Park_11-17.pdf



Child care is an essential NEED. It is not a "nice to have" library to
spend time at your leisure. Child care shortage impacts parents’ employment
opportunities. Affordable, high quality child care is a solution to
workforce issues such as work-life balance, absenteeism, employee
retention, and productivity. Having local solutions mitigates traffic
problems, which Menlo Park has plenty of recently, and more expected as
more affordable housing is built that will attract more young families to
our area.


The San Mateo child assessment report from 2017 also addresses the two key
barriers to expansion:

- Lack of suitable facilities space and

- Lack of qualified teaching staff


MCC gives an answer to that pressing need. Removing it to build instead a
questionably needed mega-library, and even suggesting to add MORE
affordable housing on top, will only make the child-care needs more
severe. If anything, child care should be expanded on this location. This
was actually already approved by voters in 2001, when Measure T was passed
with a 70 percent approval that called for in an advisory recreation master
plan. A new state-of-the art child care center was one of the projects that
were highlighted in the campaign to pass Measure T. "I think we're
committed to providing child care services, and we're committed to
providing them in that location (Burgess)," said Councilman Paul Collacchi.
"I must've told 500 people" when campaigning for Measure T, and "I have no
plans to change that," he said. Unfortunately, this was later thwarted and
a much smaller facility was renovated instead. But at least it gives some
answer to desperately seeking parents.


I am urging the council members to prioritize the needs of Menlo Park
residents. It will be greatly appreciated, respected, and valued.


Respectfully,

Osnat Loewenthal

Parent at MCC, Menlo Park
Received on Mon Jan 15 2018 - 21:45:35 PST

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