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October 24, 2021

Elected officials propose rebuild of Scotts Valley child care center

Scotts Valley’s mayor says $1.4 million dollars pledged by the district’s House lawmaker to upgrade a child care facility would have a big impact on the lives of local residents. But Derek Timm notes it was a team effort to win support for the funding initiative.

“After school child care is critical to working families in Scotts Valley, and the permanent closure of the city facility at Vine Hill Elementary School was of highest concern,” he said, adding when Congresswoman Anna G. Eshoo announced the potential availability of federal dollars, civic leaders got to work. “The city manager and City Council worked diligently over the past several months to alert Congress of the dire situation and rallied support from other local officials to emphasize the need to obtain this critical federal funding.”

Scotts Valley’s congressional representative announced July 16 she’d rounded up the $1.4 million to replace the decades-old building.

“We are beyond elated that our city’s need was recognized by Congress,” Timm said, adding this means the money wouldn’t have to come out of its cash-strapped budget any longer. “This is an incredible outcome for our community.”

The news came as part of $5.9 million in educational funding Eshoo is proposing for the 18th Congressional District—which includes the San Lorenzo Valley and parts of Silicon Valley—and $11.25 million slated for eight separate projects from Santa Clara to Santa Cruz County.

“I’m proud to have secured this funding which will go directly to local education projects, efforts to mitigate traffic congestion, and plans to strengthen senior care and mental health services,” Eshoo said in a release.

These plans—now part of bills—have to be evaluated by the Appropriations Committee first, before they could come to the floor of the House of Representatives for a vote. If successful there, they’d move on to the Senate, where Democrats hold a razor-thin majority—and even some moderate party members are wary of approving too many spending initiatives.

To build a case for the funds, State Senator John Laird, Assemblyman Mark Stone, Santa Cruz County Supervisor Bruce McPherson, Scotts Valley Unified School District Superintendent Tanya Krause, Scotts Valley Parks and Recreation Chair David Sanguinetti, Scotts Valley Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Danny Reber and Mayor Timm all wrote appeals for help in building the child care facility.

Eshoo included these in an official letter she wrote to David Price, the chair of the Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development Subcommittee, as well as ranking subcommittee member Mario Diaz-Balart. She wanted to know if they could earmark $1,375,600 for a brand new facility on the Scotts Valley property.

“In addition to serving as an important learning center, Vine Hill Elementary School serves a major role in the community by hosting arts programs, catering to the youth leagues, and acting as a childcare facility,” Eshoo wrote, noting the current building is “dilapidated beyond usability and is in hazardous condition, which is degrading the educational capacity of the school and negatively impacting hundreds of families in the community that depend on it for other programs.”

On May 3, Eshoo wrote to Timm to let him know she’d push for the child care facility cash, noting out of 50 project requests, it was one of the few she’s able to move forward with. Multiple other Scotts Valley pitches didn’t make the final cut.

“In the coming weeks, the Appropriations Committee will consider projects submitted by members, and they can only fund a limited number of projects,” she said. “Given the excellent support of this project, I have confidence in it.”

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