A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Maple Lawn to continue as a preschool

Written February 22nd, 2020 by Hasso Hering

A decorated window at the Maple Lawn Preschool in April 2019.

Albany Parks and Recreation Director Kim Lyddane has good news for all those parents who pleaded with the city council last spring not to close the Maple Lawn Preschool: Subject to council and school board approval, the place will stay open and Greater Albany Public Schools will cover the expense.

A year ago, the parks department proposed to close the city-run preschool on Salem Avenue in order to save money. The council eventually agreed to keep it open for the first year of the current budget biennium and seek another organization to take it over after that.

“Maple Lawn Preschool will run, at no expense to the City, with funds from GAPS,” Lyddane tells the council in a memo prepared for Monday’s 4 p.m. work session at City Hall. All expenses and revenue for the program, she adds, will be tracked in an account separate from the traditional parks and recreation programs to make sure that no city money is spent.

Parents pay a fee to allow their youngsters to attend  Maple Lawn. The city raised the fees in 2019, and for this fiscal year they are estimated to total $125,000, while operation of the preschool is budgeted at $257,000. The city budget accounts for the full-time equivalent of 1.75 instructors and not quite one half-time teaching assistant.

In her memo, Lyddane says she met with GAPS Superintendent Melissa Goff and Assistant Superintendent Lisa Harlan. She says the school district is interested in funding Maple Lawn while it develops its own “early childhood service model,” and Maple Lawn would continue with no major changes in format.

Staff members would remain city employees with oversight by the school district. The district would cover all salaries and benefits, materials, services, utilities, and other expenses. All this is to be detailed in a three- to five-year agreement to be submitted to the council and school board when it’s ready in the coming weeks.

The money will come from the extra state funds the district will get from the gross-receipts tax on business the 2019 legislature enacted with the title of “Student Success Act.”

During budget hearings a year ago, numerous parents praised the instructors at Maple Lawn as particularly influential and helpful in the development of their children. They should be pleased by the proposal that’s now been worked out. (hh)

The city-owned Maple Lawn Preschool, at 1950 Salem Ave. S.E., as it looked a year ago in April.


14 responses to “Maple Lawn to continue as a preschool”

  1. Rolland says:

    Sounds like a win win result.

    Now if the City is no longer wanting to fund this program, the property should be sold to GAPS as well

  2. Michael Thomson says:

    It is great news but don’t let Councilors Kellum and Sykes off the hook.

    I’m on the School Board and a citizen member of the Albany Budget Committee. Last years City budget closed Maple Lawn with no plan for it to reopen in any fashion. Suggestions to transition to “another funding source” were met with resistance from the City.

    The timing of events might leave the impression that the School District should have been running this program all along. That was not the case that was made by Kellum, Sykes et al.

    It was pure luck the Legislature passed the Student Success Act shortly after the adoption of the City budget. If that had not happened, no way would the School District have been able to step in.

    • Rich Kellum says:

      Mr Thompson,
      You should stop prevaricating, Evidently you of the far left do not have the ability to listen. The points that were made were 1. Schools are not the job of the taxpayers of the City of Albany, it is the job of……………. Schools… 2. Each Student is subsidized about $500.00 per month by the Albany taxpayer, and 3. Some of those subsidized were not even taxpayers of Albany, One even lived outside Linn County… so why don’t you come up with a reason why someone who pays for their own childs preschool should subsidize someone elses kid who doesn’t even live in the county..

      • centrist says:

        Before launching an insult, at least spell the name right.
        Is this reply now a matter of record of discourse by an elected official?

        • Rich Kellum says:

          Just tired of the lies, I notice you didn’t say anything about the content.

          • J. Jacobson says:

            Normally, when a Public Official accuses someone of lying, it is generally thought to be good form to provide at least a scintilla of proof as to back-up those accusations of prevarication. In this instance, as in many such instances, the Councilor accuses but provides no evidence. It seems this type of behavior is what passes for leadership in Albany’s power circles.

          • centrist says:

            Frankly, your opening encouraged to skip the remainder as valueless.
            Moved on to more educational matters.

      • Mother of 2 says:

        I would think someone who has served in Albany City Council would know it is possible to live in the city of Albany and be a resident of Benton County (and therefore not Linn). Your statement insinuates those of us in that particular situation are somehow less important to the City than City of Albany Citizens in Linn County.

  3. Jim Engel says:

    Hummm, sounds like “we” need a playground monitor to keep peace…
    :>) amongest the rock throwers.

  4. Rich Kellum says:

    J J……… real name why not use all the other names you use on this Blog as well, Maybe you could have a fight with yourself…. what are you up to……….5 or 6 different names???

  5. russell w tripp says:

    I was Mayor when the Burkhart family gave their home to the City for a Library. I asked City Atty Merle Long if the City could accept the gift but not for a Library, as none was needed at that time. Merle replied that it would be O K if no one objected. No one did, but it has long been a property seeking a purpose.

  6. Mike Martin says:

    Another view. This private school in question has been subsidized by the City for, as I understand it, over half of its annual budget for many years. While all the other private schools in the area are financed by tuition, bake sales, auctions, etc. It seems to me that either the City should have never gotten into the private school business or the City should have been sending large sums of money to all the other private schools. Parents of most private school children (I am one) make great sacrifices, to not only pay tuition, but also pay taxes to support public schools and Maple Lawn.


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