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High rent a heavy burden for childcare centres

Operators laud move to end policy of awarding HDB sites to highest bidder

Published on Apr 16, 2013 11:58 AM
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Mr Ethan Lee outside the Little Mighty Me centre with some of the children who attend the pre-school. They include his four-year-old daughter Hannah Lee (in front of her dad). He pays almost $50,000 a month in rent, which accounts for more than half of the centre’s monthly operating costs. -- ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

AT CHILDCARE centre Little Mighty Me, director Ethan Lee is struggling with a high rent of almost $50,000 a month for the site above a multi-storey carpark in a Housing Board estate in Punggol.

The rent accounts for more than half of the centre's monthly operating costs of about $80,000.

Mr Lee, who charges $1,177 for the full-day childcare programme, tries to persuade parents deterred by the expensive fees to visit the centre and see the programmes for themselves.

"My wife and I went ahead with the high bid because we have our parents' financial support and we thought demand for childcare services in Punggol would be high," said Mr Lee, 36, who previously worked in his family's travel accessories trading business.

 
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Background story

CUTTING CORNERS?

They may be compelled to compromise in the aspect of hiring good teachers in order to sustain themselves, because good teachers need to be paid well.

- Dr T. Chandroo, on high rents