City Council Converts Loan To Grant, OKs Money For Tulsa Daycare

Thursday, August 13th 2009, 11:08 pm
By: News On 6

By Emory Bryan, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- The Tulsa City Council reversed itself on one issue on Thursday night and decided not to change course on another.  It was all over community development block grants.  That's money from the federal government that's handed out by city councils.

The change of heart was over a business development in north Tulsa.  The rest of the discussion was over a specialized daycare that needs a new building.

The daycare discussion was emotional with parents pleading with the councilors to leave the money in place.  The main reason the daycare was getting money is that it's one of the few that accepts special needs children and takes DHS subsidies.

For some parents, it's the only available option.

"I am really happy with it here," said mother Sandi Rodriguez.

The daycare wants to buy a new building with a $200,000 grant through the city.  The city council had already approved it, before DHS records surfaced showing a long list of problems.

"We need the building, our kids needs the building and I think they deserve it, regardless," said Special Kids founder Jo Williams.

Williams founded the daycare and blames the problems on a single manager not doing her job and a building that's a constant maintenance problem.  She said if the council pulled the money back, she might have to close the daycare.

"With the maintenance here and the constant repairs and our high overhead, even with the wonderful support we receive from the community, it would be difficult to continue," said Special Kids founder Jo Williams.

After councilors heard from parents, they decided not to take the money back.

On another issue councilors listened and talked for hours about converting a $1.1 million loan to a north Tulsa business development into a grant.

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"Denying us the opportunity to recycle funds from the project into similar projects in the community is denying the community a chance to grow," said Reuben Gant with the North Tulsa Chamber of Commerce.

On Thursday night, the council reversed itself and voted to convert the loan back into a grant, meaning it does not have to be repaid.  As for the daycare, they'll get the money.

Read the DHS Records for Special Kids.