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Ezra Alire helps out with the ribbon-cutting Wednesday at the grand opening of Santa Fe Public Schools' Early Childhood Center. The center has 44 slots and will provide child care specifically for district employees with kids ages 1 to 3 years.

Since Elise Trujillo had her daughter Athena two years ago, she’s relied on family members to provide child care while working as an educational assistant at E.J. Martinez Elementary School.

In a country where monthly child care costs can be equal to rent — and in a city where the school district’s union estimates educators with young kids were paying $954 a month for care in 2021 — Trujillo has watched friends sacrifice job opportunities to care for kids, counting herself lucky.

“Day care lists are long,” Trujillo said. “It’s expensive. Do I work and pay all of it to day care? Or do I not work and take care of my child?”

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Andy Beasley, son of Early Childhood Center Coordinator Katie Wiederholt, plays in a log toy Wednesday following the facility's ribbon-cutting ceremony.



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Athena Trujillo, 2, draws in her classroom following the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Santa Fe Public Schools’ Early Childhood Center. The center provides care for children ages 1 to 3 whose parents are school district employees. It’s funded with pandemic relief money set to last through the 2022-23 and 2023-24 school years.

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