Epworth Preschool parents want answers following a mid-year shakeup

Published: Mar. 10, 2023 at 11:12 PM EST
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Parents who send their children to Epworth Preschool are up in arms and want answers after they say the school director was fired.

Some parents tell 13abc the director was the reason they sent their kids there and they are not sure they want to go back.

“It’s extremely concerning, considering we’re in the middle of the semester, and we just got done paying for the next semester,” says Chase Peavy, a concerned parent. “And we find out the person that was running this preschool, that we all loved, is now no longer a part of it supposedly. And there’s not an explanation and there wasn’t one sent out.”

Peavy tells 13abc parents have had to piece information together themselves. He says the were not even alerted that the school was closed today.

“I got there at 9 a.m. The doors were closed, the lights are off, and there was no notice on the door,” says Peavy. “There were parents out there with kids trying to drop them off.”

And when looking for answers, he says parents have gotten nothing, leaving them to speculate. Some say they think the reason the church is taking control is to have access to the school’s finances.

“In a sense, we were getting shut down. Because as we reached out either through phone or email, we weren’t getting responses,” says Peavy. “Then on Facebook, they are not responding and deleting our questions on their page.”

Former Epworth Preschool Board member Lynne Saunders says for 40 years the school had been governed by a board, which was disbanded in August of 2022, not long after the church came under new leadership.

“We were informed that in those months of January through June that the church was changing the whole financial system,” says Saunders. “They had a new person doing accounting, banking and finance. And because of that, they could not give us, the board, the monthly statements that we had always gotten for every month for those 40 years.”

The school initially released a statement on social media saying the doors would be open on Monday, but later deleted the post. Sunday, a letter sent to parents signed by Epworth UMC Leadership announced the school will be closed from March 13-17. The school then goes on Spring Break and leaders plan to reopen the week of March 27.

“We believe the safety and security of your children is of paramount importance and it is a necessity for us to comply with state regulations,” the letter said. “The church had no intention to close the school, and certainly will not be raising tuition at this time. We deeply apologize for any inconvenience this unplanned closing may have on your family. Thank you in advance for your grace and patience as we navigate through this fluid situation.”

Some parents are not sure their children will be there when the school reopens.

“When it comes to children, they are the number one priority in a parent’s life,” says AJ Mahling, a parent. “And we trust in this establishment to take care of and to put our children’s best interest in front of their own and that’s exactly the opposite of what we’re getting back.”

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