Spring - Klein Edition | July 2022

The average annual wage for child care workers in the Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land metropolitan areas has increased by 33.6% in the last decade. METRO CHILD CARE WAGES

Of 709 jobs in the Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land area that received annual wages, child care workers had the ninth-lowest average annual wage in May 2021. The following occupations share similar salaries to those of child care workers. METRO OCCUPATION WAGES




+33.6 % from 2010-21





However, he added more research may be needed before state legislators consider providing families or child care centers with additional funding. “We are hearing more requests and higher demand for increased state funding in a number of areas. … In the end, it will likely come down to avail- able budget dollars,” Harless said. Sara Ray, the director of Kins- men Children’s Academy in Spring, said the coronavirus pandemic has proven to be a challenge for early childhood education. “We have not raised our prices in quite a while, but we will need to raise prices soon in order to continue to oer high-quality care with the rising prices of supplies, utilities and to keep our sta wages competitive,” Ray said. While the pandemic has proven to be a challenge for both child care cen- ters and parents alike, individuals on both sides are now seeking solutions. Increasing costs As of October 2020, the average cost of infant care in Texas was $777 per month, or $9,324 annually—7.8% more

expensive than the annual in-state tuition for a four-year public college in Texas, according to the Economic Policy Institute. Meanwhile, the aver- age cost of child care for a 4-year-old is $589 per month, or $7,062 annually. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ consumer price index—a measure of the average change in prices—the cost for day care and preschool rose 3.2% nationally from May 2021 to May 2022. While parents are spending more on child care than they were two years ago, child care centers are also facing higher costs and other industry issues related to the economic downturn. Larry Drown, the owner and director of Campus Kids—a before- and after- school and summer camp program in partnership with Klein ISD— said he may have to consider raising his rates for the ¢rst time in ¢ve years due to in£ation. “In summer camp, I do a morning snack and … an afternoon snack, and so if I take one item for an example, … the chips have gone from 25 cents a bag to 37 cents a bag. … If you do

it over the school year, it’s about $48,000 [more],” Drown said. About 21% of child care centers in Texas had closed due to ¢nancial hardships induced by the pandemic as of September 2021, said Kim Kofron, the director of early childhood education with Texas-based nonpro¢t Children at Risk. Kofron said these closures further exacerbated child care deserts, or ZIP codes with fewer than 36 child care seats per 100 children of working parents. While most ZIP codes in the Spring area meet CAR’s standards, 77069 falls below with 15-25 seats for every 100 children as of February. Of the child care deserts in the North Hous- ton area, including Spring, about 80% are Texas Rising Star child care des- erts, Kofron said, which means they are not quality controlled by the state. “On a whole, … [Spring-area child care centers] are doing better than the state average,” Kofron said. Stang challenges The child care industry, like other industries, is also facing a shortage of


paying 15.7% of its income for infant care for one child, according to the Economic Policy Institute. By this standard, 15.8% of families could aord infant care. Spring-area parent Amber Naylor has two daughters, ages 8 and 5, who both receive child care services since Naylor and her husband both work full- time jobs. Child care is a big expense compared to the family’s other bills, Naylor said, even though the day cares they use have not increased tuition during the pandemic. “One child in full-time day care is the cost of a monthly mortgage payment for us. … If we’re talking car payments, this is easily two car payments for the one child in day care,” Naylor said. With the 88th Texas Legislature set to begin Jan. 10, many parents are looking to local legislators for assis- tance facing the rising cost of child care. In an email June 23, state Rep. Sam Harless, R•Spring, said child care costs are “eating up a larger portion of income” for families with children.









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