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Morning Bell: Child care centers are on the decline

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Nakia Ayer with her daughter, Tenley, at Kinder Castle center in Midwest City. To accompany story on the changing needs of working parents and the growth of 24/7 childcare centers.Thursday, April 6, 2017. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman
Nakia Ayer with her daughter, Tenley, at Kinder Castle center in Midwest City. To accompany story on the changing needs of working parents and the growth of 24/7 childcare centers.Thursday, April 6, 2017. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman

Since 2012, the numbers of centers and homes providing child care in Oklahoma has dropped 23 percent, from 4,200 to about 3,200, reports Oklahoma Watch. During the same period, the number of places fell 11 percent, according to data from the Department of Human Services. The state has licensed child care capacity of 121,000, down from 135,500 in 2012.

Oklahoma Watch's Paul Monies reports that the closures come even as Oklahoma’s child care subsidy will get its first increase in almost a decade. Federal funding through the Child Care Development Fund will let DHS increase the subsidy to 65 percent of the latest market rate. A public hearing on the new reimbursement rates is scheduled for Friday.

“You look at the trends in the numbers (of facilities) and wonder what’s going on,” said Kathy Cronemiller, who owns six child care centers and is on the board of directors of the Oklahoma Child Care Association. “Some people are making money, but clearly it’s not everybody, and some are breaking even. The subsidy hasn’t kept me in business, it’s the fact that I’ve been in business so long that my buildings are paid for.”

There is also a need for evening childcare. The handful of day care centers in the Oklahoma City area that offer extended hours and evening care have become a vital resource for a growing segment of the city's working-class community where a traditional 9-to-5 schedule has little meaning. I wrote about one of those center's last year in a story you can read here

Emergency cert numbers grow higher

I'll be at today's state Board of Education meeting where 853 emergency teaching certificates are expected to be approved, bringing the total to 1,238 headed into the new school year. Last year, 1,875 emergency certificates were issued, which was a new record. 

"You’re seeing the number of emergency certifications skyrocketing,” state Superintendent Joy Hofmeister said. “It’s really disheartening. … The impact to students just last year was that 104,000 Oklahoma schoolchildren were taught by someone yet to be tested for the grade or subject they were teaching, let alone certified.”

Tulsa administrators received pay after certificates expired

Two key Tulsa Public Schools administrators were without current Oklahoma credentials for about three weeks and were paid after their certifications and contracts expired, reports the Tulsa World

Errick Greene, TPS chief of schools, and Devin Fletcher, chief talent learning officer, certifications’ as principals expired on June 30, about three weeks ago. They were renewed Tuesday after the Tulsa World’s inquiry, the district said. Both positions are required to be certified, according to the Oklahoma State Department of Education.

Skiatook superintendent pays restitution

Former Skiatook school Superintendent Gary Johnson has paid full restitution of $207,590.01 owed in a bribery scandal that tarnished the district, reports the Tulsa World.

U.S. Attorney Trent Shores announced Wednesday that his office and the Tulsa County District Attorney’s Office had collected full restitution.

“The restitution collected from Gary Johnson was owed for the losses his corruption inflicted on the Skiatook Public Schools,” Shores said in a news release.

That does it for today's Morning Bell. Have a great Thursday! 

Related Photos
Nakia Ayer with her daughter, Tenley, at Kinder Castle center in Midwest City. To accompany story on the changing needs of working parents and the growth of 24/7 childcare centers.Thursday, April 6, 2017.   Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman

Nakia Ayer with her daughter, Tenley, at Kinder Castle center in Midwest City. To accompany story on the changing needs of working parents and the growth of 24/7 childcare centers.Thursday, April 6, 2017. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-b58da650d6156a3e36e5e44268321a91.jpg" alt="Photo - Nakia Ayer with her daughter, Tenley, at Kinder Castle center in Midwest City. To accompany story on the changing needs of working parents and the growth of 24/7 childcare centers.Thursday, April 6, 2017. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman" title="Nakia Ayer with her daughter, Tenley, at Kinder Castle center in Midwest City. To accompany story on the changing needs of working parents and the growth of 24/7 childcare centers.Thursday, April 6, 2017. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman"><figcaption>Nakia Ayer with her daughter, Tenley, at Kinder Castle center in Midwest City. To accompany story on the changing needs of working parents and the growth of 24/7 childcare centers.Thursday, April 6, 2017. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman</figcaption></figure>
Ben Felder

Ben Felder is an investigative reporter for The Oklahoman. A native of Kansas City, Ben has lived in Oklahoma City since 2010 and covered politics, education and local government for the Oklahoma Gazette before joining The Oklahoman in 2016.... Read more ›

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