Tuesday, August 18, 2009

MUST READ Letter From Preschool Director - Cindy Cienfuegos

Thank you to Cindy for her brave and informative response to the Board of Director's official letter stating 5 reasons for the permanent closure of the preschool. Also, be sure to read the multiple comments left after the Board's letter was posted - and leave your own, we need to make sure all points are communicated to the board on Wednesday. See you at the club at 5pm for a friendly show of support for this amazing staff and school...bring the kiddos, we'll give you a sign:)


I, the director of the preschool, was indeed notified on Friday, Aug 7th of the intended closure of the preschool. I was asked if I wanted to notify the parents and staff. I declined because I was flabbergasted that a decision of that magnitude would be made so close to the end of the school year. I was then assured that letters would go out that Friday evening. I asked Cynthia on Monday, Aug 10th, if the letters had gone out and was again told they had not but that they would go out the next day. I finally sent my own letter out to the parents and at least got the ball rolling.

Here are my comments, point by point:

1. If you add up all of the children served over the past 30 years, I bet it comes to more than 1% of the homeowners.

2. I am not sure where the loss figures come from. Lately it has run at a loss, but my figures are different. The first five years I was director we made about 39,000.00. Where did that money go? For about 25 years the school was run as an amenity to the club. It has only been during the past 1 - 2 years that the board wanted to run it as a business. And I agree it should have been. Every year I wanted to increase the tuition and was voted down. I kept telling the board that eventually we would not make any money. Well, it finally caught up with us.

As to the "enormous amount of administrative time spent by staff who are not connected with the preschool", whatever happened to the saying, "The preschool is no trouble at all - it runs itself"?

This year huge amounts of time have been spent but that is because the problems have spun out of control - bad economy, dilapidated building, low enrollment, the need to increase tuition, etc.

Now we come to marketing strategies. Yes, we did some additional advertising - finally. I have never been allowed to advertise outside the club. This was a first. And yes, the advertising DID work. Last week alone I did 8 tours and had 6 more parents want to enroll their children! I had to turn them down. I am sure we could have filled by September.

The preschool has run at or near the maximum enrollment except for the past year. Maybe it has something to do with the economy????

3. No one ever knew we had to have a City Permit until this year. We were licensed by the State of California. Never a problem for 30 years.

4. No comment on this one. All is correct.

5. We had a waiver for all non-members. When our insurance rates increased a few years ago, I brought to the attention of the former General Manager(s) that there were outside companies specifically designed to insure preschools. I gave them contact phone numbers - to no avail.

All in all, I think that the letter was a slap in the face to the preschool staff and the "14 members of the 35 enrollees".

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