CCAC changes plans for day care centers

Trustees say may

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A day after Community College of Allegheny County leaders appeared to commit to keeping campus day care centers open at least through January 2015, school trustees said that is not the board's position.

In a memo to campus employees and to the centers' clients, trustees said that "continued operation of the centers is not guaranteed beyond the end of the 2014 Spring Semester."

The memo dated Friday, obtained by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, added to the uncertainty over the four centers, run by CCAC since its founding, although lately at an operating deficit amid declining enrollment.

The correspondence drew a sharp response Monday from the faculty union, whose president, John Dziak, said CCAC is reneging on a promise made at a meeting last week with administrators to resolve a grievance filed over earlier plans to close the centers next month. He said a lawyer for the American Federation of Teachers is drafting an unfair bargaining complaint against CCAC to be filed with the state.

"The president of the college has authority in the grievance process to resolve issues. The president was there. The vice president was there. The head of human resources [was there]. All of them agreed," Mr. Dziak said.

"If the board has, in fact, some other position, then it's a colossal mistake. I'm taking legal action," he added.

Interim president Michael Murphy and other CCAC officials declined comment Monday other than this statement: "All parties are committed to working together" to find ways to operate the centers "in a fiscally responsible manner."

The centers at the college's Allegheny, Boyce, North and South campuses enable students with children to juggle parenting duties with classroom demands, but the centers currently are at half their 150-child capacity and $300,000 in the red. They have two dozen employees.

At their meeting Thursday, trustees tabled the proposed December closures so a working group could weigh alternatives. But chairwoman Amy Kuntz told trustees that operations would be guaranteed through the spring, contradicting what Mr. Dziak said was agreed to in his session hours earlier.

At least one CCAC vice president agreed at Thursday's meeting with the union's version and the January 2015 guarantee. Mr. Murphy also told Ms. Kuntz that "I agree with John [Dziak]," but when an administrator said the 2015 guarantee was regardless of any deficit, Mr. Murphy took exception, saying, "We won't be losing funding."

Bill Schackner:, 412-263-1977 and on Twitter: @BschacknerPG.

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