Wednesday, August 19, 2009

OC Register Article - Rally for preschool

Lake Forest parents, teachers, lobby to keep school open

The Lakeview Learning Center was told to close its doors.

The Orange County Register
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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.

For more information regarding this visit Twitter: @savemypreschool.

Contact the writer: 949-454-7307 or

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