Holy Name Preschool will stay open | SteamboatToday.com

Holy Name Preschool will stay open

Brent Boyer

Holy Name Preschool won’t close in June after all.

The 40-student preschool will remain open at least through the 2004-05 school year after an agreement between Holy Name Catholic Church officials, preschool staff, parents of preschool students and First Impressions of Routt County was reached Tuesday morning.

“We’re going to be in business,” Monsignor George Schroeder said.

The Holy Name Preschool Reorganization Committee, representing groups with ties to the preschool, will continue to meet in an effort to determine how to make the early childhood care center financially sustainable into the future, Schroeder said.

Holy Name announced last month that it would close for good June 4. Church officials cited financial reasons for the closure.

Parents of Holy Name students quickly responded to the news and organized meetings with church officials to determine whether the closure could be prevented. Schroeder credited the parents as well as early childhood education professionals, including Renee Donahue, Tami Havener and Bob White, for their involvement in generating solutions for the preschool.

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Susan Petersen, the parent of a Holy Name student, was elated by Tuesday’s news.

“I’m thrilled,” she said. “It’s been a long few weeks. We worked really hard to collaborate and come up with a plan. Keeping the school open was the bottom line.”

Demonstrating to church officials the importance of the preschool to area families and its impact on the community was essential to moving the dialogue forward, Petersen said.

But the committee must develop a plan to reduce the church’s subsidy of the preschool. That subsidy has been estimated to be about $60,000 per year.

“We’re looking forward to working out the details to make sure it’s the same great program it’s always been,” said Donahue, early childhood manager for First Impressions of Routt County. “There’s still a long haul to make it financially stable. It’s not an easy goal for any early childhood program.”

Providing affordable, accessible and quality child care is an issue in Routt County. Daily child -care rates have increased throughout the years as providers try to maintain or improve quality, and the number of spots available to families who need child care is limited. Holy Name’s commitment to remain open will allow its families to plan for the future, Schroeder said.

Donahue said Tuesday’s agreement was one of the most fulfilling experiences she’s had in her position with First Impressions.

“We’re so excited that it could come to this sort of conclusion,” she said.

— To reach Brent Boyer call 871-4234

or e-mail bboyer@steamboatpilot.com

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