Concern over the fate of the South Jacksonville Presbyterian Preschool

Dear Editor: 

I am a parent at South Jacksonville Presbyterian Preschool and the president of our Family Volunteer Organization, which is similar to a preschool PTA program.

I was given your contact info as a way to voice my concern about the fate of our preschool that has been in operation for more than 60 years and is home to at least three generations of family members who have attended our school over the years.

Our school currently resides in the part of the South Jax Presbyterian church property that is about to be sold to developers. There is a good bit of community concern around this future development but very little concern for the displacement of our young children and teachers.  

We have been offered space at Southside Baptist Church across the street from our current location, but we have run into multiple roadblocks as it relates to building code. We were planning to have moved into our new location at the beginning of the 2019 school year in August, but the delays have been continuous. As parents, many of us feel as though we have been pushed aside and kept in the dark about a future location for our children. We are told the process is moving forward, but the feedback we are getting seems to be delivered with very low concern. At this point it feels as though we have passed the last-minute mark for making this happen.

As parents with small children, we are likely the only ones whole heartedly concerned about the future of our school, but we are tired of the lack of urgency here. We have already passed the registration period for attending other schools next year, and the majority of preschools in the area already have wait lists. This leaves our families in a situation with little options available.  

Not to mention that our teachers are being kept in limbo as to whether or not they will have a job next year. There is low possibility that they would be able to even find a job at this late date to work at another preschool.

What concerns me the most is that bond that has been built at our school as families experiencing similar life situations come together to create a “village” for our kids to grow strong and supported. Our families have built a solid trust in our loving teachers to take care of our children as their own and to support them as they learn how to make friends and begin their basic education.  These teachers have been the confidence in me when I was unsure about what I was doing as a new mother.  They taught me how to relax into parenting and become a better mother to my boys. Our school improves our families, improves our community and builds prepared and loving children.  

My goal is to do my best to help ensure our teachers have their jobs and our children have a school to attend together as one big family. We are not a money-making operation, but we do sustain ourselves and have a very active group of parents to help and support our school. Our curriculum is top notch and our class sizes are small, and many of our parents have toured multiple schools only to end up choosing ours. It is important to me to be able to provide as stable a situation as possible for our kids at this young age.

If we can bring enough awareness to this situation to at least get an answer with regards to our building code issues so we can move forward with potential options, our families would have something to prepare for before it’s too late.

Thank you for allowing me to voice my concerns,

Allison Naseri

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