Lori Phipps, or Miss Lori as her students call her, has solely owned and operated the Kids First Learning Center in Orland for 12 years. Her preschool offers music, games, arts and crafts, and pre-kindergarten readiness programs.. Thriving from the beginning. But for the first time since 1999, she may be forced to close her doors. "We won't be able to educate the children of Orland to have a better life. It's so disturbing and sad that I hope we can rally together some people," says Phipps.
Every year, Phipps has at least 10 children enrolled in her preschool program, and about 15 to 20 on a waiting list. But within the last two months, she says, times have changed. "Suddenly I'm having parents losing jobs and this parent is telling me that even though they're self employed they're not getting work."
The other problem is money. Although Phipps charges only $18.75 per day, which is lower than many other preschools, some families have decided to withdraw their children and become stay-at-home mom's or dad's..
Like Cameron Pugh.. A Chico resident and father of two. He was forced to make that decision two years ago, when he and his wife decided child care was just too expensive. "I wasn't able to find any employment in order to supplement the daycare or after school babysitting," Pugh says.
And while this is the case for many parents with young children, preschools like the one Lori Phipps owns, will be forced to say good bye. "A big crisis for me personally, but more so I think for the community, because what a dis-service to not be able to offer this anymore.. To have this school.. To have a better future for our children" says Phipps.
If her enrollment doesn't increase, Phipps will be forced to close her preschool of 12 years.. At the end of this month.