Lockeport closes preschool to community's dismay

Amy Woolvett amywoolvett@thecoastguard.ca
Published on July 18, 2014
Lockeports Kids Corner at a concert
Contributed photo

By Amy Woolvett

The Town of Lockeport council passed a motion to discontinue the Kids Corner Pre-School program effective immediately.

The town run preschool was a program that ran from Sept. to June and provided preschool aged children ages three to six an educational setting to prepare for school.

Lockeport council stated the main reason was that the program ran a deficit for the past 15 years. 

“It was not an easy decision,” said Lockeport mayor, Darian Huskilson.  “But we were faced with this constant struggle financially.”

They were continuously running at a $6-10,000 deficit.

“It hurts me that we had to cut any services at all,” he said.

He also added that the preschool primarily catered to children in the Municipality of Shelburne with a ratio of about 60 percent municipal children and 40 percent Lockeport children.

While the municipality contributed $1000 last budget, it wasn’t nearly enough and he felt that Municipality of Shelburne council should have contributed to reflect the number of municipal students in the program.

But warden for the municipality, Roger Taylor doesn’t think that is fair.

“The municipality funds many projects that are used by people in Lockeport,” he said.

He used the example of the Shelburne Medical Clinic they contributed $450,000 to.

“Lockeport contributed nothing and yet the clinic will be used by people throughout the county,” said Taylor.

While Huskilson was hoping for a solution through municipal cooperation the MOS was firm on its position.

“It’s regrettable,” said Taylor.  “But the municipality has no plans to run a daycare.”

Ashley Boutilier is one mom who is upset with the loss of the preschool.

“It is horrible that something so important as our children’s education and preparing them for school in the future is the thing they had to cut,” she said.

She said her daughter loved the preschool and living in a rural neighbourhood in the municipality it was the only place she was able to interact with other children.

“And now I have to tell her she may not get to go in September,” said Boutilier.  “I am quite upset about this along with a lot of other parents.”

Community members and families have joined together to create a Facebook page called Save Lockeport Kids Corner and has swiftly grown to over 600 members.