Thursday, May 24, 2007

The $40,000 Preschool

I am astounded by the high cost of childcare and especially at the inverse relationship between preschool costs and wages. The responsibility of managing our modest one-income is primarily mine, as is the responsibility of choosing a quality preschool for our son. Usually, I am pretty good steward of our finances, but I've been recently thrown for a loop with Bubba's impending preschool tuition. Quick background: we applied to one preschool because we trust them and, because of Bubba's late birthday, we need a school that he can attend through kindergarten. Lizzie went there when she was a tot and now its Bubba's turn.

Now, for the scary part: tuition is $9500/yr (payable in ten payments or a lump sum). For preschool. For the past few weeks I have been exploring other options but none of them seem right. We can afford the monthly payment but should we? $950 is a mortgage payment for people who don't live along the Front Range or require much living space. $950 that, barring any tuition increases (unlikely) must be paid by us for the next FORTY months.

So, I am at loss for a viable solution. If we decline the spot, there is little doubt in my mind that Bubba will ever get into this preschool again; we were on the waitlist for two years. In hindsight, we could have set aside that money for just this purpose but hindsight is 20/20 and right now, our preschool future is anything but clear.

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