Saturday, February 7, 2015

Preschool Changes

Remember this picture from Jackson's pumpkin patch field trip?

Jackson sitting with his favorite teacher. The director is sitting behind them.
I've been greeted by that same expression every morning for months. My relationship with the preschool director has been on a downward spiral since October. We have endured several months of  miscommunication and disrespect. Here's the condensed version of what happened:

Jesse set up automatic bill pay last year to pay for preschool. Every month a check would automatically be sent to our preschool. The former director would place the receipt of payment in Jackson's communication folder. This occurred every month without any error.

This year, we continued the automatic bill pay. The only thing different was the director. For whatever reason, the first check in September was late. In October, the director told us she had not received the payments, and we needed to write a check for September and October tuition. I gave her the check the next day. Unfortunately for us, the automatic checks from the bank supposedly arrived the next day. She deposited ALL of the checks without consulting us, which was FOUR months worth of tuition. One of the checks bounced because we had insufficient funds. As soon as we realized this, we transferred money from our savings into our checking account. The check was electronically redeposited, along with the overdraft fee.

For the past FOUR months, we have debated this. The director swears she never received any of the money, even though we have given her our printed bank statements that show the transfer of funds. She has since deposited subsequent checks.

The director had not spoken to us since Thanksgiving. Each morning I dreaded walking past her because she grimaced as if she was truly in pain when she saw us.

On Tuesday of last week there was a typed letter in a sealed envelope in Jackson's folder. The letter explained that we owed close to $1,000 and if it was not paid within five days we would need to meet to "remedy the situation".

Jesse spent hours going through every bank statement from the past year on Tuesday evening. On Wednesday, the trio and I spent hours at the bank gathering copies of every endorsed check and even documentation showing electronic transfer of funds from our account to the church's account. The banker was so helpful and kept saying, "This lady needs to get someone to do her books. How does she not know where her money is?"

James had to be confined to the stroller after throwing all the magazines.
I met with the director on Wednesday afternoon. Jackson's teacher graciously stayed late and watched all four kids in the nursery while I met with the director. The director still did not believe that we paid! She could not argue that the money left our account, but she would not believe that the funds transferred to her account. She kept repeating, "I've never seen these checks! I did not endorse them!" She also said, "I know it must be embarrassing to have insufficient funds. I have tried to extend grace for several months, but you must pay now. I cannot maintain my budget."  I had pulled into the parking lot feeling confident, but left feeling enraged, perplexed, and deflated.

By this point Jesse and I had already decided to withdraw Jackson from the school. Thursday was his last day. I only let him go because he wanted to see the dentist that was scheduled to come. God must have decided to provide a sign that we should not return to school. I drove down the same road I've taken for nearly two years, but unexpectedly reached this:

There were no detour or warning signs.
All the cars just had to make u-turns and go a different route.

The trio and I toured a different preschool that morning and registered Jackson to start classes on Monday. Instead of Tue/Wed/Thu, he will now attend school on Mon/Wed. I would prefer three days a week, but this was the only open spot.  He happens to have two good friends (twins) in his new class and I am also good friends with the Room Mom (aka the twins' mom). The classroom was much more inviting than either of Jackson's other classrooms. It had the look and feel of a classroom with cubbies, student artwork on display, a giant alphabet, etc.

While I was taking care of the new preschool business, Jesse received a phone call at work from the director. She actually told him that  she could not pay her teachers or her electricity bill because of our delinquent payments. When he reiterated that we've shown her every evidence that we've paid, she continued to say the money was not in her account. Apparently Jesse got frustrated and yelled, "That's not our problem!" to which she screamed back, "It is your problem!"

Jesse met with the director in person to go over the bank statements one final time on Thursday. This time he requested a third party be present. (This was the exact same time James was falling down the stairs and cutting his head open!) Nothing was accomplished and she still claims we owe money, but we are able to leave knowing we've provided every necessary documentation to prove our payment.

The most frustrating part of this situation is she does not seem to have a supervisor so we are unable to contact anyone higher up. We have since contacted other parents, the local news station, and plan to file a report with the Better Business Bureau. We're unsure if it is an embezzlement issue or if other parents have experienced the same mishandling of money, but we know we are not at fault. If anything, we should get a refund since we already paid through February.

While I'm not convinced this situation is over, I am no longer stressed because I don't have to see her face again. Jackson is able to attend an even better school. I have so much love and respect for Jackson's (former) teachers, but I feel such relief knowing that we are leaving months worth of stress behind and get to start anew.

1 comment:

  1. I still want to punch the face. Don't mess with MiMi..