JCC rebuffs attempts to save Glencliff campus
by Tamara Stokes
The Jewish Community Center of Greater Dallas has rejected a proposal to keep the Glencliff campus open for the Talglit preschool.
The JCC last month announced that it was closing the Glencliff campus in Plano, due to a budget deficit.
Taken aback by the announcement, preschool parents had mobilized to save the school, and last week presented a plan to the JCC executive board. Details of that proposal were not released.
"All these Glencliff parents made a big impression on our executive committee. David and Gregg were terrific," Stuart Prescott, JCC president, said referring to David Grossman and Gregg Stevens, who made the proposal on behalf of the parents. "If we had the finances to match their passion, a JCC preschool in Plano would never have been in question. This is a national phenomenon and we're sad about it. But we simply have to redirect our energy and resources into one center."
The board rejected the plan primarily because it lacked a firm financial commitment as well as the time needed to execute start-up for another preschool facility, according to Stevens.
The closing will take place in two stages. The health and fitness center will close March 31 and early childhood programs, child care and summer camps will run as scheduled through Aug. 31 before the building is closed permanently.
Glencliff Taglit parents were guaranteed placement at the Northaven JCC if registration had been completed. Many parents are still not happy about the situation and seek alternative childcare options.
"It was a good, open and frank exchange," says Stevens. "But the bottom line from the board is it is best in the long run if Glencliff is closed."
Grossman said, "It all comes down to money, and that's what they [the JCC board] said before."
"It would be difficult to get a preschool up and running by fall, a huge undertaking, and it seems the JCC doesn't want to lead parents on in any way."
The board did not foreclose a presence in the north, Grossman said, but it might be a few years down the road, definitely not 2003-04.
Grossman and Stevens said there were too many variables, and it was impossible to know exactly how many children would come back to an alternate facility.
"We took this as far as we could without support from the JCC board," says Grossman. "It is fair to say we had potential benefactors, but it was an impossible time to raise funds," without a commitment and a definite return ratio for enrolled preschoolers.
They speculated they could have had an endowment between $750,000 and $1 million.
In a Feb. 18 parent meeting, the JCC's Jeff Seymour indicated at least a $2 million commitment was needed from the northern communities to reconsider the board's decision to close Glencliff.
"There was too much needed, too quickly, so the results were not feasible," said Grossman.
This story was published in the DallasJewishWeek
on: Thursday, March 13, 2003