Three child development centers in North Carolina shut down Friday with just hours notice to employees and patrons.
In a letter sent to parents Friday morning, Heather Williams, the executive director of Northeastern Community Development Corporation, announced all of the organization's facilities would close at 6 p.m. due to recent budget cuts.
"Please know that we exhausted every option in the search for alternatives to recent budget and funding cuts, but we unfortunately were unsuccessful with this mission and as a result must halt operations immediately," Williams said in the letter.
NCDC closed the following facilities in Elizabeth City and Camden County:
- NCDC I on Gumberry Road -- an early childhood program serving 98 kids from infant to pre-schoolers
- NCDC II on Highway 158 East -- the organization's main office and a facility providing Pre-K, summer care and after school programs
- Winnie Wood Child Development Center on Commercial Boulevard -- an early childhood facility that accepts subsidized tuition payments from local agencies
Employees at the facilities told WAVY.com they learned Friday morning that it would be their last day at work, but the NCDC chairman said employees found out Thursday night.
Parent Katie Gray said she learned about the closure when she dropped off her 4-year-old daughter.
"You didn’t find out overnight. It didn’t happen overnight. No one should have been notified overnight," she said.
Gray said she would have to take her daughter to classes with her next week.
"Of course finding out last minute, there’s really not much you can do at this point.You feel like your hands are tied," Gray said.
Board Chairman Mickey Golden said a plan for another daycare provider to take over the centers fell through Thursday night and they had no other choice but to close them. 10 On Your Side's Erin Kelly asked Golden why parents and staff were not given more notice.
"While we were in negotiations with these people, we wanted to have an option of handing them over to an operating unit. If we told everybody that we were going to close, then everybody’s gone. What’s left?" Golden said.
Golden said the not-for-profit organization couldn’t sustain itself with grant funding from state and federal agencies dropping off.
"When you look out at the future and you see the Initiative in North Carolina has been defunded. We used to get HUD grants of $100,000 a year. HUD no longer gives a grant," Golden said.
The full text of Williams' letter to parents is as follows:
It is with deepest regrets I inform you Friday, August 30th, at 6:00 p.m. all NCDC facilities will close. On behalf of the board and administrative staff we extend our sincere apologies for the lack of notice. Please know that we exhausted every option in the search for alternatives to recent budget and funding cuts, but we unfortunately were unsuccessful with this mission and as a result must halt operations immediately.
There is a possibility in the near future that another buyer could purchase the facilities and resume operations. To be contacted with information in this event, please see your center director and complete a referral form.
NCDC values our relationships with the parents and children we have served over the past decade and understand that selecting quality child care is of the utmost importance. We urge you to contact Albemarle Smart Start Partnership for information on local centers that could meet your child care needs. Albemarle Smart Start is located in the Edgewood Shopping Center at 1403 Parkview Drive in Elizabeth City. You can reach them by telephone at 333-1233.
Jennifer Terranova with Creative Kids in Elizabeth City has graciously offered to accept as many children as her capacity allows. Please contact Jennifer at 333-1021 or email@example.com for information on enrollment. Creative Kids is located at 116 Corporate Drive.
All inquiries related to closure of NCDC facilities should be directed via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 338-5466 extension 22. NCDC Board and staff consider it a privilege to have served your families.
With sincerest apologies and best wishes for your family.
Northeastern Community Development Corporation
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