MARQUETTE — A group of parents are calling for the Marquette County Commission to use pandemic relief dollars the county received to fund child care initiatives in the county. The county got ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) dollars totaling over $13 million.
However, the county has only allocated $100,000 to child care while spending much more on curtains for the Courthouse although the law was passed to help people affected by the pandemic and not to help counties update window treatments.
“We think that instead of doing the courthouse renovations and other areas that they’re designating far more money to,” Shilpa Jhobalia, Great Start Parent Coalition parent liaison told WULC TV6. “We would like them to reconsider that allocation and increase that funding. […] We have to really come together as a community and find tangible, creative solutions to meet everyone’s needs.”
However, one member of the County Commission seemed to take the side of curtains over children. “It’s not Marquette County’s main duty to provide child care for all of Marquette County,” Marquette County Board Chair Gerry Corkin told WULC TV6. “You don’t know what you’re talking about. It’s not our responsibility. We will cooperate with the federal dollars to help solve the problem. But, [our job] is not to provide child care for all of Marquette County when you’re talking about millions and millions of dollars to do it.”
Parents who are calling for child care have made specific proposals for funding child care to Board that would give parents in the county more options for child care. In addition, the Marquette Community Foundation task force recently submitted a report, completed over 3-4 months, to the county commissioners assessing the childcare needs of the area.