PHOENIX, AZ (3TV/CBS5) -- Phoenix parents gathered tonight at Trinity United Methodist Church at 31st Avenue and Glendale, lamenting the fact that their beloved preschool next to the church may shut its doors at the end of the week due to financial hardship. 

"It's our family school," said Brandi Terry. Her son currently goes to Trinity United Methodist Preschool, or TUMPS. Her daughter went there. And so did she.

She said it's heartbreaking to hear it could be closing in less than a week.

"I don’t want to leave, this is our home, this is our family," said Terry. 

TUMPS director Susan Wells said this preschool is secular, but it's under the umbrella of the church, and that the church has been helping the school make payroll since 60 percent of its students are on scholarship and those funds pay late.

"I knew the church was struggling but I didn’t know to what extent," Wells said. "I didn’t know closure was on the immediate table."

Wells said she hasn't been taking a salary since July, and said declining enrollment is also making it tough to make payroll. But she adds that when she met with church leaders two weeks ago, a closure was never mentioned.

Emotions were high at the meeting Monday night.

"We no longer have money to fund it," said Pastor Stephen Govett. 

Parents proposed raising money themselves, to keep the school open for at least a couple more weeks. The pastor told parents they needed to raise $10,000 by next Wednesday to fund the next two weeks, and $50,000 to keep the school going through the end of the school year. They launched a GoFundMe page to help.

"We need to get money in account so we can cover our own payroll," Wells said. 

"Consider to make a donation to keep the school alive and going," Terry said. "It's relevant in our community and really important in our neighborhood."

Award-winning journalist Lindsey Reiser is a regular contributor in the evenings on CBS 5 News at 10 p.m.
 
 


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