Preschool forced to close, gives parents 2 days to find alternative

DeJuan Hoggard Image
Monday, October 30, 2023
Preschool forced to close, gives parents 2 days to find alternative
EMBED <>More Videos

International Preschool of Raleigh alerted parents over the weekend that the school could only remain open for 2 more days.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Some Wake County parents got a 2-day warning that their preschool was closing.

International Preschool of Raleigh has provided top notch education for area children for 17 years. The school has been a staple in the community, introducing young minds to technology and teaching them Spanish and Mandarin.

However, over the weekend, the school sent an email to parents letting them know Tuesday would be the final day the school could operate at its current location.

The school wrote: "Upon receipt of this information, it is with profound sadness that we pen this letter to convey an unexpected and unfortunate information. The International Preschool of Raleigh has regrettably lost the right to provide services at 2730 Godley Lane. We, the staff, share in the deep sorrow of this loss as we, too, are affected by the tragic turn of events."

"I did have a conversation with my youngest today and I said we're having mommy school. And he was like, 'No I need to go to my school.' And so I'm just trying to be mindful as a parent," Jessica Hope Murrell Berryman said. "I'm extremely frustrated, but I don't want to put that frustration on him. They are resilient. They are flexible. And change is always going to happen. It's definitely a hard conversation but it's one that needs to be had."

According to the school, its lease was terminated by the property owner and the school's parent company, China-based MornWind Education. MornWind Education is the group that handles all of International Preschool of Raleigh's finances. It also operates preschools in Beijing under the moniker "International Preschool of Raleigh."

MornWind Education said via email that pre-pandemic enrollment was around 90 students on average but fewer than 50 students are enrolled currently.

"Our income has suffered greatly; it has basically been cut in half," wrote MornWind Education board member Eric Li. "But our costs haven't reduced and even became more. Our landlord refused to reduce the rent and they increased the rent last year per the contract. Which has made IPR's financial status even worse."

Li said MornWind invested $150,000 to help IPR get through this financial crisis but it wasn't enough.

While MornWind Education handled the schools finances, the school's staff was made up of local employees who are now having to deal with what's next just like parents of the school's students.

Deanna Baker has been Head of School since Aug. 2019. In her introduction to parents at the time, Baker said her motto was, "All children are created for destiny and packaged with potential."

"It's heartbreaking. Not only is it heartbreaking, I will say to you, it has affected the overall general health of some of my co-workers. It's hard. It doesn't feel good at all," Baker said.

Baker said she's been putting in calls around the area, trying to find a facility that can house the staff and nearly 50 students for the time being. So far, she has not been able to find a sufficient facility.