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The Daily Tar Heel

Child-Care Funds May Be Matched

A referendum that adds 75 cents per semester to student fees passed with 70.5 percent of the votes in Tuesday's student elections.

But even before the referendum passed, the chancellor's Child Care Advisory Committee made a formal recommendation at its last meeting encouraging the University to match any revenue that might be generated from student fees, committee member Marc David said.

Mikisha Brown, Graduate and Professional Student Federation president, said she is writing letters and setting up meetings with key administrators to ensure that Chancellor James Moeser follows through on the recommendation.

Brown said she plans to meet with Moeser, Provost Robert Shelton and Sue Kitchen,vice chancellor for student affairs, in the coming weeks, and said she expects administrators to be receptive to the idea. "I think because so many student organizations and some administrators are behind the idea, it's very feasible that they'll match it," Brown said.

"When it comes to money, the chancellor is going to make the final choice."

But it is unknown at this point where the University will get the matching funds.

Shelton said administrators will look into the usual state sources to match the funds but that because of the state's tight budget, they have not yet determined the source of the funds.

He said another option would be seeking an endowment from a donor.

David said even though the University is on a tight budget, money is still coming in from contracts, tuition increases and the Carolina First Campaign. The match will call for about $20,000 a semester, he said.

"We're not talking about a huge amount of money," David said. "The results of the referendum make a strong case to the chancellor and the budget committee that they need to respond to."

David said the added fee might not go into effect until 2003 or 2004 but that it is important for the University to commit to match the funds now.

"Right now, the waiting list is close to 40 student families who qualify and would get money but do not because there is not enough funding," he said.

Even if the administration cannot immediately provide matching funds, Brown said the passage of the referendum would be a leverage point in future negotiations. "(The referendum) shows students are willing to be part of the solution to making UNC a more friendly environment," she said.

Kitchen said she is excited that the referendum passed and that more funds will be allotted for child care.

"I think child care is a really important need that has come up, particularly for graduate students," Kitchen said. "It's just wonderful that we're giving more financial support for this important need."

The University Editor can be reached at udesk@unc.edu.

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