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Long-standing Tiny Tots Preschool in Escondido to close

Posted at 7:41 PM, Jun 23, 2023
and last updated 2023-06-23 22:41:34-04

ESCONDIDO, Calif. (KGTV) — After more than 30 years, the Tiny Tots Preschool in Escondido will close next year, despite parents' efforts to keep it open.

Franchesca Spensieri's 4-year-old son has been in the Tiny Tots program for two years.

"He's made so many friends and learned so much," Spensieri said. "I get to be involved with his education and really help grow and nurture him."

Parents say they were shocked when they received a letter stating the program would be closing.

"I didn't see any reason for it to close," said Melanie Johnson.

Johnson's 3-year-old son has been in the program for a year.

Last week, the city council voted 3-2 to close the program in May 2024 to give parents a year to find other childcare options.

City staff says it's because of budgeting issues and a decline in enrollment, which is partly due to competing programs, such as the free Transitional Kindergarten (TK) programs offered by the state to help kids prepare for kindergarten.

However, Spensieri said her son isn't eligible for TK because he has to be five years old by a specific date.

"The cut-off was June 2nd. My son was born June 27th," she said.

City staff plans to reallocate the funding to other youth programs.

"They gave us a handout with other options, and the other options are basically daycares that last all day long, that costs thousands," Johnson said.

Johnson added she understands the city's decision but still believes the program is worth keeping around.

"They are kind of leaving the three to five-year-old age group high and dry. They're taking money from the one program for that age group and diverting it to elementary students," Johnson said.