BATAVIA — A “very sad time.”
After serving thousands of children since 1972, Rainbow Preschool is closing for good.
Arc of Genesee Orleans announced Friday morning that the school, which has been open since 1972, will permanently close on Aug. 14.
“It’s a very sad time,” said Shelly Falitico, director of development for Arc.
Uncertainty about state funding was a “major consideration” in the board making the decision to close Rainbow, she said.
“It’s not just enrollment decline,” she said. “Our funding from New York state is always uncertain.”
The school, with centers in Batavia and Albion, serves children from 2 1/2 to five years old, with or without developmental disabilities. As of now, 26 students were enrolled in the school.
Falitico said all the parents were notified of the closing before it was announced to the public.
“We have been working with the parents for alternatives,” she said. “The first thing we told them to do was contact their local school districts and counties to see what is available.”
Officials at Arc have been in contact with neighboring counties to see if the are able to accept new students.
Falitico and Executive Director Donna Saskowski said other factors in the decision include declining enrollment and the COVID-19 pandemic which created uncertainty about whether the school could open and the complicated procedures that would have to take place if the school opened.
It was an extremely difficult decision.
“This decision was made with heavy hearts,” Saskowski said. “For any children who are enrolled with Rainbow for the 2020-21 school year, we will work directly with parents and with school district representatives to secure appropriate placements and ensure continuity of services.”
The preschool provided special education, physical therapy, occupational therapy, assistive technology, counseling, parent training, music therapy, and speech/language therapy to help students achieve kindergarten readiness. Preschool staff are New York state-certified teachers, with teacher assistants and aides in the classroom.