Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Fundraiser for Displaced Richwood Day Care Center

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Fundraiser for Displaced Richwood Day Care Center

Article excerpt

The flood that damaged much of Richwood last month was only the second, and most literal, disaster that hit the city's lone public day care center in June. That facility, Nicholas County Starting Points Center, was booted out of its long-time home, Cherry River Elementary, at the end of June.

The day care center had to be out of the school, where they had used space for 12 years, by the end of June, which meant moving during the flood.

And the new space, which is just one room, means the center can only serve about a third as many children as it could previously.

"It's been a mess, it's been really hard, said Marla Short, executive director of Nicholas County Empowerment, which runs the Starting Points Center. "A lot of our families lost their homes, so we're in the midst of trying to help them as well as help ourselves.

Jessica Laxton's 19-month-old son, Christopher, had been spending several days a week at Starting Points for three-quarters of his young life. Now, depending on the week, they usually only have room for him one day a week.

"It's been hard on us because we need to work to support him, but it's hard to work when you don't have someone to watch him, said Laxton, who does in-home education for parents. "It changes every week and I think it's harder on him because things are up in the air and he's out of that regular routine that we had.

The Nicholas County Board of Education voted unanimously in early June to not renew its contract with Starting Points Center, acting on the recommendation of former superintendent Keith Butcher. Butcher cited financial problems - the county is dealing with declining budgets and student enrollment - as a reason for evicting the day care center. But his letter to the Board of Education also cited very minor issues with the day care center - an uncovered electrical outlet, an unlocked storage closet, a sink that needed to be washed - as reasons for not renewing the contract.

Butcher retired in early June. Donna Burge-Tetrick, the new superintendent, did not respond to a request for comment. …

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