Parents offer higher fees
Parents are fighting to keep their children at one of Tawa’s best-loved preschools, as its parent company proposes to move them to less popular centres in the suburb.
Parents whose children attend ABC Tawa North in Hinau St were informed on August 31 by Kidicorp that the centre may close.
Kidicorp owns three preschools in Tawa which are all under-attended, and it makes sense to close one, says owner and chief executive Wayne Wright.
Kidicorp is proposing transplanting groups of children together with their teachers to its Oxford St Community Kindy or to Early Years Redwood, he says.
‘‘We’re trying to do the right thing to everybody. We have got the interests of the children and the teachers at heart.’’
Another challenge is ABC Tawa North does not meet 2008 Ministry of Education building standards, which must be in place by early next year, Mr Wright says. The centre is a converted house, rather than a purposebuilt preschool, lacks indoor-outdoor play areas, and has awkward rooms which makes watching children difficult, he says.
‘‘It’s got absolutely terrible visibility issues.’’
Kidicorp’s other Tawa centres are compliant with ministry standards.
It would cost $85,000 to bring ABC Tawa North up to scratch, Mr Wright says. ‘‘Efficiency is a factor, of course. We have to balance our budget and that centre is not contributing.’’
Thirty parents met Kidicorp management last Thursday to express their concerns. Parent Barry Ryan described the meeting as ‘‘heated’’.
‘‘The lack of transparency and the lack of disclosure and the lack of engagement has a lot of parents very concerned.’’
ABC Tawa North was specifically chosen by many parents for its atmosphere, great play spaces and caring staff, Mr Ryan says. Whitbybased Mr Ryan is happy to travel further because his child thrives there, he says.
ABC Tawa North received a glowing Education Review Office report in 2010, while reports for the Redwood centre and an ABC in Whitby list problems such as hygiene, high staff turnover, lack of resources and poor interaction with children.
‘‘[ Parents] didn’t feel that the other centres matched up to an acceptable quality and standard,’’ Mr Ryan says.
Parents have offered to pay higher fees to keep ABC Tawa North open, he says.
Mr Wright accepts not all parents will accept the move, which may lengthen some children’s travel times. But in this case parents have reacted strongly before the situation could be explained to them, he says.
Kidicorp will update parents about the centre’s future on October 10.