Fears rift threatens preschool

By JANELLE McLENNAN MAVIS MOHAMMED fears a rift between the volunteer management committee and two teachers at the St Mary's Community Preschool in Casino will end up crippling the 30-year-old preschool.

Both the director of the preschool and the early childhood teacher are currently absent on worker's compensation after claiming they had been subjected to intimidation and bullying.

However, the executive management committee says the preschool is travelling along 'smoothly' and is operating within budget, despite serious financial problems earlier in the year.

Mrs Mohammed, a member of the St Mary's Preschool Association, is not convinced.

She said parents, carers and community members were being kept in the dark about the problems at the preschool.

Mrs Mohammed said her requests to the parent-based management committee for answers to concerns she had raised about the situation with the two teachers had been fobbed off.

She said the committee's failure to keep parents informed had resulted in misconceptions within the community about the future of the preschool.

"I'm already hearing back from people who say they won't be sending their children to the preschool next year," Mrs Mohammed said.

"I worry that unless this situation is sorted out soon, the viability of the preschool will be affected.

"Other matters aside, the preschool is going to be up for a small fortune in increased worker's compensation insurance premiums money the preschool just doesn't have."

A spokesperson for the executive committee said they were unable, for legal reasons, to comment on the situation with the two teachers.

However, in a written statement, the committee stated when it was elected the preschool was experiencing serious financial problems with 'the inevitable prospect of closure'.

"As a result we have made changes to the operation of the preschool to achieve financial stability," the executive committee said.

"Due to the efforts of the staff, committee and with wonderful family and community support, the preschool has been able to work through the financial predicament to ensure its future viability."

The statement said the welfare of the students and longevity of the preschool had been paramount to the committee at all times.

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