PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - We sat down with the pastor of Trinity United Methodist Church to discuss the difficult decision they made to close the preschool next door. The community is now fighting to keep it open.
"For the last two years, we’ve been stating the preschool must be self-sufficient," said Pastor Stephen Govett.
The church owns the preschool, and last Friday, they announced they'd be closing it in a week.
"The church supplemented the preschool $64,843. The year before it was almost $98,000," Govett said.
Govett and the preschool director blame late scholarship payments and declining enrollment.
"Has it handicapped us from doing other ministry? Yes," Govett said. "We as a church are also struggling."
About 200 people attend the church and once a month they do a food bank. This week, they're providing housing to three to five families who are in between jobs.
Still, many parents were outraged that they were only given a week's notice of the closure. We asked Govett if it could have been handled differently.
"It always can be handled differently in hindsight," Govett said. "We worked tirelessly to kick it out another week, kick it out another week."
"There was one time where they basically asked us if there was anybody that can wait please let us know and we will get it to you by this date, we are short, so if anyone can offer up their paycheck, basically," said teacher Hailey Bozeat.
She said they believe the community will come through, saving 61 kids from finding a new preschool and six teachers from finding a new job this late in the school year.
"We are a community and a family and we all love each other and lean on each other," Bozeat said.
"It is good to always have hope," Govett said.
They have a GoFundMe page, and have also planned a yard sale for March 9 from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the preschool located at 3104 W. Glendale Avenue in Phoenix. Anyone willing to donate items for the yard sale can do so at the church starting Monday.