Little Saints Academy Moving out of St. Cloud Location
ST. CLOUD -- After a long battle with District 742, Little Saints Academy will be moving out of their St. Cloud location at the former Wilson Elementary School building.
Amy Bonfig and Dwight Pfannenstein own Little Saints Academy. Pfannenstein says back in 2015 District 742 decided they wanted to sell the building. Since that time Little Saints has been in negotiations to buy the building.
"So we were approached by the district that the building was going to go for sale. Since 2015, we had sent out four separate offers to the district and we have yet to have a counter offer back for the district. All we have been told so far is 'that's not going to work.'"
Since Little Saints has yet to come to an agreement with District 742, Bonfig says they decided to move out of that building and expand their St. Joseph location.
"We were able to open three more classrooms, so we are opening another infant room, another toddler room and another pre-school room. The goal is to bring the St. Cloud children over and put them in a room together to begin with so they are very comfortable with their transition."
As the St. Cloud kids get used to the new campus, Bonfig says they can then work on expanding their classroom development and have more options for kids.
"So it's going to be a win-win for everybody, we're just growing a family."
Parents of children at Little Saints were notified on Monday that the St. Cloud location will officially close on Wednesday. The campus was already scheduled to be closed on Thursday and Friday for Thanksgiving break. Bonfig says with the additional space in St. Joseph they are expecting to be able to fit all of the St. Cloud students in St. Joseph, the only problem they might face is their infant capacity.
"We have 16 enrolled infants in St. Cloud, we only have room for 12 at a time in St. Joesph. So it seems like we wouldn't have room for all of them but in reality, a lot of them are part-time so their schedules vary and the majority of them fit plus we have the other two rooms that have part-time kids in it so we don't anticipate there being any problems fitting all 16 into the center."
Bonfig says they made the statement in the notice sent to parents that full-time families will have first priority because that falls on the business and financial sides of operations. However, they believe they'll be able to accommodate all St. Cloud families in St. Joseph.
As for giving parents a one week notice for these big changes, Pfannenstein says the move was necessary to retain staff and be approved for new licensing by the state.
"It's nearly impossible to give a year notice, a month notice, a two-week notice something along that line because you need staff in order to have ratios mandated by the state for the kids. You need kids to help pay for staff so it's kind of a very delicate balance of how you let people know. Most childcare centers will just throw a note on the door the night of pickup saying tomorrow the center is closed to ensure you're not out of ratio."
Pfannenstein says they picked this week since it was a shorter week due to Thanksgiving. It gives parents a full week to make arrangements. Also to help with the transition, they are hosting an all-day open house Wednesday for St. Cloud parents to tour the St. Joseph facility, meet with staff and answer questions.
Little Saints Academy has about 80 students at each location. It's St. Joseph location is at 124 1st Avenue SE.