Childcare costs skyrocket after minimum wage hike passes
SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. — Thanks to Washington voters, folks making minimum wage will soon be getting more money, but will some see that money evaporate as child care costs skyrocket?
At least one local daycare says it will pass those pay increases on to the families with kids.
We heard from one mother today who will be paying $300 more a month for childcare.
Before her phone call, it’s something we hadn’t thought of – and, apparently, some voters hadn’t either.
Parents that bring their children to Advent Lutheran Child Center here in Spokane Valley recieved quite the shock this week when they were told that the pay increase to the workers will be coming out of their pockets.
Heidi Perry, director of Advent Child Care, explained that many parents were not happy with the idea of the cost increase. “I think there was a little bit of sticker shock. I had a lot of parents who walked into the office last night or this morning and say ‘am I reading this right?’ And I said yes you are.”
Perry spoke with one parent who voted in favor of the initiative not realizing that it would affect child care.
Starting in January, Advent Child Center is increasing tuition about $140 a month per child, taking tuition from $705 to $845 a month, an increase some are not ready to pay.
“It just adds to the tightness of general month to month expenditures,” said mother Dawn Ellis, who has two children enrolled at Advent Lutheran.
The increase is a direct result of the passing of Initiative 1433, increasing statewide minimum wage to $13.50 by 2020.
Ellis continued, “I understand that they need to capture their difference and make that money back, but then so does everybody else.”
Because Ellis takes both of her children to the childcare center, she will see nearly 300 more dollars come out of her wallet each month.
“I mean when you have your two children and the total is more than a mortgage payment, and then on top of it if you do have a mortgage payment and everything else, it adds up.”
Not all of the employees are paid minimum wage, but some are. Even some of the ones with college degrees.
Kristin Larson, program supervisor at Advent, said that “women and men who work here and go to school and get a degree in early childhood education should be paid a living wage.”
But the staff does wish that money could come from somewhere else.
“I feel the state needs to be helping a little more,” said Larson, “it would be nice if parents didn’t have to spend a majority of their paychecks for childcare.”
Advent Child Center knows many parents like Ellis will try to make it work.
“Even if you find somewhere right now that’s slightly lower, once January hits it sounds like a lot of places will be issuing increases. And we like the school, we’re happy there, they do a great job,” said Ellis.
We reached out to several other daycares in the area, one says they haven’t even addressed this yet and another said the tuition increase is inevitable.