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Outgoing PC Tots director outlines challenges for successor

Andrea Barnes, executive director, PC Tots

As a childcare service in high demand in Park City looks for new leadership, its outgoing director says the tasks ahead will be challenging but rewarding.

PC Tots Executive Director Andrea Barnes is stepping down in January after a year and a half for family reasons.

She says her replacement will be the point person to families and other organizations in Park City.

“We are currently raising about half of our budget through donations and government grants, so it's very important that this person have a great sense of how to work with the community to make sure that those resources are in play.”

Formed in 2015, PC Tots is a nonprofit childcare and early education service with about 100 students at two locations in Park City. About 50% of its budget comes from grants and private donations, according to Barnes.

Barnes says PC Tots recently increased its budget to over $2 million a year, 85% of which goes to employees. They also raised wages and started offering benefits, which has helped keep a full staff.

But with its waitlist over 140, Barnes says the community need is greater than what PC Tots can offer.

“There's about 400 kids born into the Wasatch Back every year,” she says. “We know that about 75% of households have parents that are working outside the home, but of that amount, only a third of them can find licensed care. So, the Wasatch back is considered an early childhood care and education desert. We’re one of the worst in the whole state.”

The program caps numbers by age group to maintain student-teacher ratios of 4 to 1 for infants up to 10 to 1 for older children.

A parent can add a child to the waitlist as soon as they’re expecting.

Barnes says half of the families enrolled pay full costs, which range from $925 to $1,275 monthly. Others receive scholarships to offset expenses.

She says PC Tots may not have much room for growth, but it’s working with other organizations for meeting Park City’s childcare needs over the long term.

“We're trying to figure out, what's our role? What's the community's role?” she says. “For us to be able to expand where it's so heavily weighted on fundraising for one small nonprofit, it's impractical, it's not something that we're able to do. So, even if we took on another 100 kids, we’d have to raise another $1.2 million. I mean, that's nearly impossible for a small nonprofit to achieve.”

She credited community partners like the Early Childhood Alliance for researching ways to provide more childcare locally.