Parents offer Holy Name plan | SteamboatToday.com

Parents offer Holy Name plan

Church expected to review proposal to save preschool next week

Scott Stanford

Parents of Holy Name Preschool students have submitted a plan for keeping the preschool open.

First Impressions of Routt County helped the parents develop the plan, which was given to the church Friday. Church officials, including Monsignor George Schroeder, were unavailable for comment.

Parents would not discuss specifics of the plan, saying it would be inappropriate to do so until the church has had a chance to consider it.

Earlier this month, Holy Name announced the preschool would close in June for financial reasons. Schroeder has said the church’s subsidy of the preschool was continuing to increase and that health-care costs contributed to the problem.

Parents met Monday with the church’s finance committee to review the financial challenges facing the school, said Karri Rillos, a parent of two Holy Name preschoolers.

“We wanted to know if there might be an opportunity to keep it open,” Rillos said. “Everyone in that room was interested in problem-solving.”

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Bob White, director of Routt County Human Services, said more information would come next week.

“As a community organization, First Impression’s role is to bring all the players together so that we can try to create collaborative solutions to any of the problems that may arise in the early childhood education arena,” White said. “First Impressions is very respectful of the church governance’s position. Where we are is that (Holy Name) has made the decision to close in June, and there are parties in the community asking them to reconsider that decision.”

There are about 40 children who attend Holy Name Preschool. The facility has a staff of five full-time and four part-time employees. The rate for care at Holy Name is $38 per day.

Holy Name is not the only center that has struggled financially. Most of the county’s nine centers have been forced to raise rates steadily in recent years. Last August, Kinderhaus Family Center closed its doors. No new facilities are planned.

“It’s sad,” Rillos said. “Holy Name is a small school. It is one of the only faith-based centers in town.”

White said the parents’ response to Holy Name’s announced closing has been natural.

“The community doesn’t have the capacity to just absorb the children of 40 families,” White said. “The parents just don’t have many options, and you can imagine the emotion that creates for these families.”

White said he appreciated Holy Name’s willingness to discuss options for keeping the school open. “I’m really optimistic that early next week, a lot of this is going to unfold,” he said. “We should be able to talk about different scenarios and where we go from here.”

— To reach Scott Stanford, call 871-4221

or e-mail sstanford@steamboatpilot.com