LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Jefferson Community and Technical College will close its Early Childhood Development Center in the summer, a decision college leaders said is fiscally responsible.

“We’re at a place in community colleges and technical colleges in the country now where we have to look at every dollar,” said Dr. Telly Sellars, the dean of Technical Education. “And we want to make the best decision that drives our mission, which is improving student success, graduating and getting people jobs.”

The Early Childhood Development Center is designed to prepare 3-, 4-, and 5-year-olds for kindergarten. Sellars said there are typically 30 to 35 students in the program.

“It’s a fantastic program,” he said. “Mostly a mix of community members that had their children there. We had only a handful of students and a couple employees that used the center.”

To run the program each year, JCTC lost between $150,000 and $180,000. So Sellars said the college decided to close the center.

“It’s one of the few nationally recognized centers here in the area, which is what made this decision so difficult,” he said.

Sellars said the program and the leadership were not failing.

“That facility was looked at as a model,” he said. “It’s just strictly a financial decision, which makes it tough. It’s really easy to eliminate programs or eliminate people that aren’t meeting their expectations or doing their jobs. That’s not what this is about.”

JCTC pursued every possible option to keep the center running, Sellars said. The college secured grants from the FDA and other national organizations, but it was not enough to support the program. Sellars said the resources the center received through those grants, which includes mostly furniture and books, will be reallocated according to the grants.

In the end, Sellars said cutting the quality of the program was not an option to keep it running.

“It didn’t feel like it was professionally appropriate or responsible to take the center that we have, which is nationally recognizes, and reduce it to the quality of a drop-off service that really wouldn’t be teaching,” he said.

According to minutes from a previous JCTC board of directors meeting, the center will close in June. It has not been decided yet how the college will use the space or reallocate those funds.

Some families have already removed their children and found other childcare centers. JCTC is providing resources for all families to find a new place for their children.

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