Antioch preschool facing closure after lease extension refused

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A state-funded preschool in Antioch will be forced to close because the landlord refuses to extend their lease.

A state-funded preschool in Antioch will be forced to close because the landlord refuses to extend their lease.

The landlord happens to be the Antioch Unified School District.

This means 300 students will be left without a free preschool.

Liz Landon has been teaching at Kids' Club Preschool in Antioch for six years. She says her students leave ready for kindergarten and many of them even learn English there.

"If this school isn't here, they're not going to learn that English before going to kindergarten. So they're going to be behind," Landon said.

The preschool has been leasing the space from the school district for 10 years for less than $5,000 a month.

The school is entirely dependent on grants from the state.

"We do currently serve about 60 percent of the state preschool kids in town. If we're eliminated, that is going to be a major blow subsidies of this town," Executive Director Mark Mokski said.

But a year ago, the district notified the preschool it wanted the space back for their special needs kids.

"We need a central site so that all the students can come to one location and then we can assign our support staff to those students at one central school site," Antioch Unified School District's Donald Gill said.

But the school says finding an appropriate space for preschoolers has been nearly impossible.

"For example, we would have to make classrooms, put some natural lighting in, windows, skylights and commercial kitchen, office space," Mokski said.

That's money they don't have.

Parents are worried that if this free preschool closes, they won't have a place to go.

"Not private preschool for us. If this wasn't here, then we would have to just stay home," parent Maria Coria said.

Parents aren't ready to give up yet. On Wednesday, they'll hold a meeting to try to get the community involved.

Related Topics:
educationchildrenschoolrental propertyparentingschool fundingpublic schoolAntioch
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