Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, August 29, 2007
YELLOWKNIFE - The founder of Edutec Montessori says the sudden closure of the facility may be a conspiracy to keep the price of day care up.
Raymond Grant, founder of Edutec Montessori, thinks the sudden closure of the day care could be part of a conspiracy to keep the price of day care inflated.
Raymond Grant said the suspension of Edutec's licence Aug. 15 has destroyed the centre. The recently elected board members have all resigned and the parents have taken their children to other places, he said.
He said the police told him that they are investigating a complaint of child abuse, specifically of inappropriate touching, complaints that Grant said are "absolutely absurd."
He said he was unaware of a formal complaint against the facility until he was handed a letter at 4:30 p.m. on Aug. 15, stating that the day care's licence was immediately suspended, he said.
Shawn McCann, spokesperson for the Department of Education, Culture, and Employment (ECE), confirmed that the letter suspending the centre's licence was the only notice given by the government department. She said ECE called parents that night to inform them the day care would be closed the next day. She said that the closure of the school was ECE's decision, not the RCMP's.
Grant said he has instructed six previous staff members to co-operate fully with the RCMP. He said he expects nothing will come of the investigation, except the demise of the day care that he worked hard to establish.
"I've never heard of this happening. This is not just some daycare with three children," he said. "The way it was handled was just terrible. I have to think this is some pretense for something else."
Grant, who started Edutec as a private day care in January, vacated the presidency of the school Aug. 7, one week prior to the investigation.
He said he stepped down so that a five-member parent board could take over, allowing Edutec to receive charity status and additional funding.
Grant said one company promised $70,000 to the school once it reached charity status. That company has since withdrawn the offer, he added.
Having received $90,000 in funding from ECE this year, he said the centre was able to charge fees half the price of other centres. He said the sudden closure could have come following complaints of unfair competition by other day care centres.
Edutec Montessori had advertised fees of $599 per month for full-time day care from Monday to Friday. However, that wasn't much below the price of competitors such as Yellowknife Day Care, which charges $665 per month, and Northern Tykes, at $650 per month.
McCann said ECE hasn't received any complaints about Edutec's rates.
She said the department provides subsidies to registered care givers to help keep prices affordable.
The recently-elected board president did not return phone calls from Yellowknifer.
The only board member who could be reached, said he has left the board and no longer wishes to be associated with Edutec.