Sunday, August 30, 2009
We received a very nice note back from Dr. Gardner (who is on vacation and still found time to review our email) complimenting us on our "great work".
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Thursday, August 20, 2009
Parents rally at HOA board meeting and convince board to let the Lakeview Learning Center live.
LAKE FOREST – The commitment and passion of parents and teachers of one of South County's oldest preschools convinced a local homeowners association board to let the school live.
On Wednesday night, the five-member Lake I Homeowners Association Board voted to allow the Lakeview Learning Center to stay open despite earlier plans to shutter the nationally accredited, private preschool.
"The preschool faces many challenges in the coming weeks and months, but the board was swayed by the outpouring of public support and the commitment of our homeowners to solving the problems confronting us," said Jim Gardner, board president. "People are our most important asset. Our members promised to work hard and help solve the many problems confronting us. We had to listen to them and give them the chance."
The parents agreed to form a parent committee to develop a long-term plan that protects the viability of the preschool. The committee will coordinate fundraising activities to eliminate the financial impact of the school on the association in 2009 and 2010. They will support the LFCA staff in their efforts to manage the preschool and they will submit a long-term business plan for review and approval by the board in their January 2010 meeting.
"It was amazing," said Pete Deutschman, a parent who launched a massive online Twitter and blog campaign last week. "It was like a scene out of a movie. It was standing room only. I was really proud of the parents. Everyone took the high road and spoke from the heart. Everyone from the board listened and realized how important the preschool is to the community."
Deutschman first learned of the school's planned closure last week when his daughter, Chloe, 3, brought home a letter saying the school would be close on Aug. 28.
Within 24 hours Deutschman launched an online campaign spreading the word to other educators, community members and South County residents. The parents also held a rally Tuesday night raising awareness along Ridge Route and Muirlands Boulevard.
The board notified the preschool director of the closure on Aug. 7 but parents only received letters with refunds last week. The association sent a second letter to parents and school staff on Monday citing reasons for the closure. They included lack of use, financial loss, a building that needs repair and insurance risk, which threatens the renewal of the HOA's entire policy.
"I actually thanked the board for closing the preschool," said Deutschman. "They have put a spotlight on this little gem. The teachers have never felt so appreciated."
The preschool, which also draws children from neighboring cities, is open to potty-trained children aged 3 -5. Information: 949-837-6100, ext. 134.
Contact the writer: 949-454-7307 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Words alone cannot possibly express our appreciation for all that you, the parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, children and community have done for our preschool. Last evening we were overwhelmed by emotion as we watched a community pull together. The only thing I can do is thank each and every one of you who worked tirelessly to organize this effort. You are awesome!
Thank you to Cynthia and the board of directors for listening to the parent concerns, keeping an open mind, and making the decision to give the preschool another chance. We will work hard together with the parent committee to prove the preschool is a viable operation. The Lakeview Learning Center staff.
22921 Ridge Route Drive
Lake Forest, CA 92630
949-837-6100 x 134
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
"Daddy, I saved the pre-school?" she said. "Yes, Chloe...you saved the pre-school."
But I don't think it is fair to let Chloe take all the credit. Tonight's decision to rescind the Board's previous decision to close the pre-school was a group effort.
Thank you to the Board who dutifully listened to the association members passionately speak from the heart about what the pre-school means to the community as an asset and as an educational institution and for courageously making the motion required to keep the pre-school open. I hope the standing ovation of nearly 100 demonstrated the appreciation.
Thank you to the parents, family, friends and association members who spent the last week writing letters, tweeting, clarifying points about not needing city permits to run the pre-school, commenting on blogs, speaking with neighbors and gathering hundreds of names on petitions showing support for the pre-school as a viable and important amenity to our community.
Thank you to the OC Register (see today's story and photos about the rally), OC Metro, Twitter friends @OCParent, HeatherCinOC, @OCWeekly, @OCRegie, @Lagunaini, @TitanIceHocky, @Rebecca_Rose and more who re-tweeted our posts. Your coverage brought local and national awareness to our pre-school and we thank you.
And of course to the teachers of Lakeview Learning Center. While you were not permitted into the board meeting (because of the association members only rule) your waiting in the Clubhouse lobby in support of the kids and families you service is a testament to the commitment you have to the long-term success of this pre-school. Nothing was more rewarding then seeing you all celebrate the decision to keep the pre-school open! (except for my daughter's reaction of course).
Also, as the minutes will show, the Board approved a motion to appoint a parent committee. This committee will work in the immediate and near term to confirm and present a longer term plan to the Board. A plan that should focus on self-sufficiency if not profitability. As an Association member I can say it will be nice to boast having a revenue generating amenity cloaked as a Nationally accredited pre-school.
Now to the issue of registration.
WE ARE BACK IN BUSINESS and ACCEPTING STUDENTS.
please, please, please REGISTER for FALL AND STAY FOR WINTER TERMS.
TELL A FRIEND.
TELL A STRANGER.
WE HOPE TO CAPITALIZE ON THE EXPOSURE.
WITH ONLY 42 OPENINGS ALLOWED BY THE STATE, I ENCOURAGE YOU TO ACT QUICKLY...ESPECIALLY YOU CURRENT OR PREVIOUS TERM FAMILIES!!!!!
We did it!
Way to go!
The Lakeview Learning Center was told to close its doors.
LAKE FOREST – Parents, teachers and students from one of the city's oldest preschools rallied passersby's and motorists on Tuesday night for support to keep the school open.
About 100 held signs and solicited honks along Ridge Route in front of Lake 1's homeowner association's Beach & Tennis Club.
The Lakeview Learning Center – in the Lake 1 community for 30 years – last week was told to close its doors by the community's homeowner association. The association sent a second letter to parents and school staff on Monday citing reasons for the closure. They include lack of use, financial loss, a building that needs repair and insurance risk, which threatens the renewal of the HOA's entire policy.
Parents and teachers say they were informed of the closure just about two weeks before school starts. Last week they went online to Twitter and blogging for help.
Tonight at the board meeting, parents will make their last ditch attempt to save the school.
"A lot of what they say in the letter is not true," said Cindy Cienfuegos, the preschool's director. "It has made money in some years. They never gave parents a chance to help out. Yes, the building is in need of repair but the parents would have helped with this."
Since being informed of the school's closure last week, Pete Deutschman, whose three-year-old daughter, Chloe, attends the school launched an online campaign. He also tweeted during Tuesday night's rally.
"If we didn't have these tools, we'd just be passing out fliers," he said. "We've had a tremendous outpouring of support. We've been able to provide a platform for everyone to speak out."
Deutschman is hopeful about the Wednesday board meeting.
"All we need is one person to reconsider" he said. "The parents will do whatever it takes."
Since this onslaught of support, the president of the board, Jim Gardner offered some of his personal advice.
"I would form my own corporation (non-profit or profit). I would hire my own staff (and this could be the existing staff) and secure my own insurance," he said. "I would secure the necessary permits and licenses. Then I would come to the board and offer to rent the space at a reasonable price. Such a proposal would meet, as far as I can tell, all the concerns outlined in the board statement."
Gardner added that while e-mails, blogs, and demonstrations might draw attention these things will not solve the problems.
"I hope tonight that we get people with sound ideas, rather than people who simply make sounds," he said.
Contact the writer: 949-454-7307 or email@example.com
At some expense and inconvenince I delayed my date of departure so that I could be at the meeting. With people so emotionally involved in this matter, it seemed disrespectful for me to have participated in the decision and then not been there for the meeting.
I'm open to hearing any plan that deals with the issues adequately.
(e-mail from Jim Gardner to Pete Deutschman Wednesday, August 19, 2009 9:43 AM)