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Gallaudet CDC Parent Meeting with Gary Aller

Wednesday, February 16, 2011 at 3:30 p.m.


College Hall, Lyceum

In attendance
Gary Aller
Interpreters Mark and Rachael
CDC Parents:
1. Jesse Crane
2. Wanda Hoshina
3. Sheri Youens-Un
4. Derek Braun
5. Tonya Stremlau
6. Cat Valcourt-Pearce
7. Carmen Sanchez
8. Jennie Sivak
9. Heidi Zornes
10. Eric Smith
11. Abbey Powell
12. Nikol Nabors-Jackson

Gary said the recommendation to close the CDC was based on two primary reasons:
1) CDC budget hasn’t broken even since 2004 for various reasons, including salaries; GU pays staff
15% above competition to attract and retain good employees. Last year, budget shortfall of
$131,000; deficit has ranged from $60,000-$160,000 annually. Tuition hasn’t been raised in
years. Half of those enrolled are on vouchers or other set fee, so cannot increase their tuition; also
have many part time kids who don’t pay full tuition. Gary didn’t know what percentage of the
total GU budget of $152 million goes to the CDC, but said he oversees about $40 million.
2) Hearing children are not part of the GU mission and the Education of the Deaf Act restricts GU
from using federal funds on hearing kids who are not children of deaf adults.

Gary also said they are short two full time positions, including an MA position with degree in early
education; filling this position would bring in additional $8K in voucher money, but when the vacancy
was posted several years ago, they offered the job to two people who declined it due to low salary
(parents questioned where the job announcement was posted and whether the salary was competitive).

Gary exploring new CDC model that could include:


• Sharing staff with the Clerc Center
• Raising tuition by 30-45% for private pay/non-GU parents, which would increase weekly tuition
from $220 to $286-$319 (up to a $100 increase)
• GU donor interested in updating CDC facility (carpet, paint, lighting, air quality, etc.)
• Would have to add $200K to payroll to be at full capacity of 60 kids

Ultimately, Gary is looking for a business model that primarily relies on GU internal funding and
CDC tuition; any additional funding sources considered gravy. GU development team of eight people
is focused on other, larger university needs and has not had time/interest in pursuing CDC funding
sources.
Gary said that he and the senior leadership are not just looking at dollars and cents; they are
evaluating programs based on the VALUE they bring to the Gallaudet community in a strategic and
intentional way and ensure its authorized by everyone (e.g., auditors, Congress, Deaf Act, etc.)

Gary said that President Hurwitz has received all parent letters and to continue sharing concerns in this
way by March 8th. It is most effective to send letters to Pres. Hurwtiz and Paul Kelly, and cc: Gary.

Gary said the Presidents Office was contacted by Council members Harry Thomas and Tommy Wells,
and that the administration was not happy about this. Gary said if the administration sees the CDC as a
liability, they will cut ties completely. He said, “We are not under a legal or ethical mandate to keep the
CDC open.”

Gary said he doubted that we could meet with the President, but offered himself to further meetings. He is
crunching numbers and various models and hopes to have a recommendation by FRIDAY, FEB. 25. He
suggested that we meet again with him to review his recommendation and provide our feedback before he
shares it with the other senior officials. He said they could also delay a decision if they don’t have a
solution by 3/8; they don’t have to close the CDC in June. Ultimately Gary agreed it may be possible to
recommend that the CDC remain open for another year to pilot whatever new business model is
determined and see how it goes.

Parents made point that our letters to President are more than just concerns, there are recommendations in
these letters offering creative ways to go forward; senior officials should see these letters as a resource in
developing a new business model.

Parents also explained that:

To gain, you have to invest! The CDC is worth GU investing in for many unique reasons….

CDC is only option for deaf and CODA kids, as well as outside kids whose families want them to have
exposure to deaf culture and ASL.

Could market the CDC to parents in MD who work in DC and to area DC parents (on The Hill and other
communities). Given the crisis of over 40 daycares closing last year, there is a need for quality, affordable
daycare in general

CDC is a benefit to GU faculty and students and should be marketed as a recruitment tool to attract
younger faculty (saving GU money because they cost less than the older, tenured faculty); helps make GU
more competitive choice for deaf students with children, since only campus with CDC program.

Given the unique nature of the CDC, we could bring in new funders that could be cultivated to fund other
GU programs and initiatives; this could include grant money for longitudinal study of CDC kids, fund
CDC internship program, etc.

New business model could include a Parent Board that can help approach funders, help with marketing
and business planning and execution, and other involvement to help sustain and improve the CDC.

GU parents said there was under enrollment internally b/c of the mystery around waiting list to get into
the CDC – it takes too long! Gary said there is always priority for GU staff and faculty, but they to have
an open slot (for class of 8 kids); otherwise, they form a wait list until another group of 8 is ready to
enroll.
At the conclusion of the meeting, Gary reiterated his willingness to consider an alternative business
model and to meet with parents and show us the results of his financial models. We asked him to propose
a time to meet and he suggested this Friday (2/25) at 3:30... we will confirm and send an invitation to all
parents.