Greenport day care center to close at month’s end

CYNDI MURRAY PHOTO  |  Two children read magazines at the Perry day care center in Greenport Friday.
CYNDI MURRAY PHOTO | Two children read magazines at the Perry day care center in Greenport in June.

Citing insurmountable financial woes, Greenport’s Perry Day Care Center will officially close Aug. 30, director Joan Marie Cortez said.

“We just can’t find the funding we need to stay open on a steady basis,” Ms. Cortez said.

The center currently serves about 14 children aged 20 months to 4 years. Their parents were notified in advance about the closing, Ms. Cortez said.

“We have hopes of reopening if we find some money,” Ms. Cortez said. “That’s what everybody’s hoping.”

In June, Ms. Cortez said the center had enough money to cover operational costs for the next three to six months, but that its future beyond that was uncertain.

“Many local working parents and grandparents will find it very difficult to work if the center is forced to shut its doors,” Ms. Cortez said at the time. “The center’s in a precarious financial situation. It’s getting scary.”

The nonprofit day care facility, which has served hundreds of Greenport, Southold and Shelter Island children since it opened in 1992, is New York State-licensed and run by a volunteer board of directors. Its $180,000 annual budget covers the cost of supplies, food, building maintenance and salaries for five employees, all of whom hold certifications in child development.

The day care center’s financial status took a turn for the worse in 2010, when the state slashed its funding by roughly $10,000 a month, Ms. Cortez said. By laying off staff, raising the price of programs and fundraising, the center has since managed to stay afloat.

With donations trailing off, however, the day care’s finances reached crisis level in November 2012, prompting the board of directors to meet with local politicians, including Greenport Mayor David Nyce, Southold Supervisor Scott Russell and representatives from the office of state Senator Ken La Valle (R-Port Jefferson) seeking assistance in trying to secure additional funding.

While Southold Town was able to obtain a $5,000 annual grant from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, most local municipalities were unable to help due to their own cutbacks, Ms. Cortez said.

The day care offered programs for preschoolers, toddlers and families. Each day, children participated in a variety of activities, ranging from music, art and story time, to a host of age-appropriate and educational games. The children were also served two meals a day.

Contributions may be made to Perry Day Care Center, 612 Third St., Greenport, NY 11944 or online via PayPal at

With Cyndi Murray

[email protected]

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