Local leaders advocate for more childcare options

By Taj Simmons

Day care options are expanding in Oxford, in response to what community leaders say is a growing need. 

Last month, Oxford City Council hired an additional full-time preschool teacher for the TRI Community Center preschool program, at 6025 Fairfield Road, which recently began offering day care year-round. The center can accommodate 14 children Monday through Friday. The new teacher will begin working in August, Oxford Parks and Recreation Director Casey Wooddell said. 

A new in-home day care center in Oxford is enrolling up to six pre-K children for the start of its school year in August. The Omnibus Early Learning Program, operated by Mary Piper at 2691A Miamiview Court, charges parents on a sliding scale based on parental income. 

“We hear about it from the community; we hear about it from council meetings; we see it on social media pages,” Wooddell said about the expressed need for childcare. “We knew that the demand was going up.”

Vice mayor Chantel Raghu said the city might be able to address the situation by changing its zoning regulations to allow larger day care centers in more areas or by finding grants to help fund day cares and afters-chool programs. 

“I feel like at least over the last decade or so, people have talked about how challenging it is to find,” Raghu said. “Because it’s really expensive, it’s hard to find and we just don’t have enough options in town.”

Piper, a 2021 Miami University graduate, said she decided to open an in-home day care after hearing about growing demand and the limited space for childcare in the Oxford area, including the recent closure of a day care on College Corner Pike. 

“I knew that Young Leaders closed somewhat recently, and one of the schools that I had done some work at has recently raised their tuition to keep up with inflation,” Piper said. “And so when a place closes, and other places are becoming more expensive and families are going back to work after a pandemic, that can be kind of a tricky situation.”