Is AU's daycare closure a sign of troubled financial times to come for the university?

Wednesday, June 12, 2019
News 12 at 6 O’Clock/NBC at 7

AUGUSTA, GA (WRDW/WAGT) – Three weeks ago, Augusta University announced it generated $1.6 billion for the local economy.

About two weeks later, the CEO of AU’s health system, Lee Ann Liska, stepped down immediately.

But that’s not all. On Wednesday, the school announced its daycare center would be shutting down in August.

The numbers don’t quite make sense. In a board meeting, AU officials revealed a possible 9-month long accounting error.

Parents think the AU daycare center is paying the price for the $24 million mistake.

“Yeah,” one parent agreed. “I never even questioned the finances of the child care center.”

AUMC claims closing the daycare is not related to issues with the CEO. But in a letter to parents, it suggests finances are the reason for the closure.

“I would encourage the university to reconsider to seek other avenues to cut costs without closing the child care center because you can’t measure the stuff that goes on here,” one parent said.

The health system was already struggling. They had to get a $230 million grant for previous debt. On a positive note, its income did grow by nearly 12 percent during that time. But it seems when the institution's finances went down, patient care costs went up.

So while the daycare doors closing may only affect the family and teachers, it could be signs of larger financial challenges.

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