Daycare abruptly closes leaving parents shocked in Camden County

BARRINGTON, N.J. (WPVI) -- Parents are outraged! They're showing up to school with their kids to find the doors are locked in Barrington, Camden County.

They look inside the windows and the lights are off, but their kids' artwork is still hanging up and now they don't know if they'll ever get any projects back or their money back.

Timothy Jones, a student said, "I'm going to miss my friends."

Parents like Anthony Jones are trying to explain to their little ones why they can't go to school at the Kids Castle anymore.

"I'm really angry and sad I can't find daycare for my son. I don't know," said Lori Gardiner of Runnemede, New Jersey.

In an email titled Final Letter to Parents sent on Wednesday, Kids Castle wrote the school will be closed as of tomorrow.

The parents we spoke with say the email was sent around 8 p.m., leaving them with no plan for where to leave their kids Thursday morning.

"Everybody's scramming so they can charge you whatever because they know you're stuck I paid five weeks in advance they cashed my check the day before they closed the doors how are we going to get our money back," said Gardiner.

The email cited financial troubles saying on February 8 it lost 35 families.

In its entirety the email says:

Super Parents!

Many of you are already aware that The Kids Castle and Castle Academy are struggling financially to pay our Teachers for the past 3 weeks in addition to this week (payroll is given on Wednesday). The following are the reasons and please understand you as Parents and the Teachers have only been supportive of our children and our school.

On February 8, 2019 we lost 35 families attempting to comply with the Office of Licensing requirements. One of the requirements was the finalization of the Suppression System with a cost of $74,000. And a remaining balance of $34,000.

The ability to operate with an I-4 use code would allow us to take in many more children ages 6 weeks through 8th Grade. As we are no longer receiving tuition from the 35 families, we are currently unable to pay our teachers.

Since we can't pay our Teachers for the last 3 weeks we can no longer as a school, expect them to teach for Free!

Since Sunday several parents have done what they thought was helping with ideas to create incremental sales to get the school in a better position.

It became clear to us that as a school many changes have taken place in the Education field. Ten years ago, full day Kindergarten was implemented in schools in cities and towns that had low test scores.

Three years later all but 10% of schools have gone to Full day Kindergarten. The remaining townships test scores are high and that equals Very Small classes for us.

The same thing happened to Pre-Kindergarten and Pre-school in these districts.

Our number of students has gone down and our payroll, for our Loyal Teachers has gone up.

We have no other choice but to File for Financial relief.

We love our Families!!!!! We Love our Children!!!!! We Love our Teachers!!!!!

Thank you from the bottom of my Heart for your Love and Support of our school for the last 25 Years!!!!

I have attached a Transfer card for your future school for K-12th Grade, you would fill it out and bring in for us to sign, once signed you will be able to pick up from us and bring to your New School to register. Your New School will fax us a formal request and we will send out our records.

The school will be closed as of tomorrow, Thursday February 28, 2019; however, our office will be open to transfer records.

She just ended it and it makes me angry because I have two 5-year-olds that are handing me piggy banks to pay a school that we pay every week," said Mike Olson of Williamstown, New Jersey.

We went to the owner's home, asking for answers, but no one answered.

"I have to switch my hours, my work, like I don't know just to go in later. What am I going to do?" said Gardiner.

"He said mommy are you sad? I said I'm really sad baby, I'm sorry. You think you have something good and it's just gone," she continued.

All the signs have been stripped off the building. The schools' website and Facebook page are gone.

Teachers we spoke with say they found out the school was closing the same day as the parents, and are also waiting to see if they'll get paid.

Parents are organizing an event on March 13 at the VFW in Bellmawr so kids can say goodbye to each other and their teachers.

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