Determined fundraising efforts by the parents of students and quick thinking by Allison Maselli, director and head teacher, may pull the back from the brink. The school has faced closing this September .
Early this week, Maselli said enrollment for the fall stood at 14 students, whereas the school typically functions with close to 30 students.
“Actually, we have a few options,” said Maselli, who first cited the ongoing fundraising efforts by parents. She also said that she had recently heard that a preschool in Durham was closing because its landlord had raised the rent, and that she quickly called its director to see if the two schools could function together.
“We’ve got the place,” Maselli said of the , which operates from the basement of the Hall.
Danielle Pannone, whose two children are scheduled to attend the school this fall, is among those who are hard at work to keep the school afloat.
She said parents had conducted candy sales last weekend in front of the Stop & Shop supermarkets in and , although she said the parents had found sales somewhat thwarted by the heavy rains.
Pannone also plans to set up a table for donations and with a raffle over this weekend’s . She said she had solicited area companies for gift cards to put in the raffle baskets, and that donation buckets would also sit on the table. In addition, she will offer bracelets branded with NCNS for those who support the school.
“I, personally, will be there the entire time,” Pannone said. “I’m hoping that this weekend goes fairly well and that the community comes together,” she said, noting that there are persons whose grandchildren have attended the school.
According to Pannone, the parents have already raised $5,000 in donations, with, she added, some family members waiting in the wings.
Maselli sees the drop in school enrollment as a sign of the times. She conceded that Connecticut is a very expensive state and that young families, especially, have a “very, very difficult” time getting a start here.
She also acknowledged that people are cutting back, and that, while an early learning center is a facility she termed “very necessary for the children," attendance may well lag behind a young family’s need to cover utilities and the mortgage.
And, she said, families are not having as many children as they used to.
She said that parents have scheduled a meeting for Aug. 15. She said she expected to know the likelihood of pairing with a second early learning center at that time.