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UPDATE: YMCA In Beckley Closing Preschool Program, Statement Released

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BECKLEY, WV –  A statement from the YMCA has been released following the announcement of closing the preschool program.

The YMCA of Southern West Virginia has announced that it is closing the Happy Kids Preschool effective Friday, March 30, 2018 after almost forty years of service to the community. The decision to close was based on a number of factors that ultimately came down to whether or not the Y could continue to sustain the operation of the preschool.

“The landscape for Pre-K has changed so much over the years,” said YMCA CEO Jay Rist.

“You’ve had an increase in for-profit centers that provide day care and/or early childhood learning options in our area. That has happened over the last several decades.”

“However,” Rist continued, “more recent developments like Raleigh County Schools offering in-school Pre-K programs, the state slashing funding for child care subsidies like Mountain Heart and our loss of population really adversely affected us.”

The Happy Kids Preschool had operated near break-even up until about five years ago. Since that time, the operating deficit for the preschool has widened to the point where a decision needed to be made.

“We took a really hard look at the Preschool as a department, its past performance and its enrollment numbers,” Rist said, adding, “Once our FY2017 financials were available, it was pretty evident the gap had become so bad that it could not continue, which, if it did, would put pressure on the Y as a non-profit charity, and would ultimately make it difficult to sustain our current overall operation.”

Now that the direction has been chosen, the focus will turn to the children, their families and the Preschool staff. Notices were being distributed to parents beginning Wednesday and continuing through the remainder of the week that gave the closing date as well as contact information for the centers that offered similar services in our area. Further, preschool staff will be available to answer questions as parents work to place their kids at another location.

“We are doing our best to ease the burden of this sudden change, but it’s tough,” Rist said. “The Preschool has meant so much to so many generations of families and children in the Beckley area.”

Though the Happy Kids Preschool is closing, the Y’s remaining Child Care Programs will continue as scheduled, including Afterschool for K-5, Summer Day Camp and School Day Out.


ORIGINAL STORY: 1/24/18

BECKLEY (WOAY) – The Board of Director’s at the YMCA in Beckley has voted to end their preschool program.

An official with the YMCA has confirmed to WOAY News that the preschool program will end and the last day will be on March 30th. The preschool has over 30 kids in it now.

One reason for ending the program was because of the decline in enrollment and financial reasons.

Limited details are known at this time but stay with WOAY for more updates on this developing story.



Tyler Barker

Tyler is the Chief Meteorologist & Digital Content Manager for WOAY-TV. You can find him weekdays at 5, 6, and 11 pm on WOAY-TV. Follow me on Facebook and Twitter @wxtylerb. Have any news tips or weather questions? Email me at tbarker@woay.com


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