[EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a Letter to the Editor, written by a verified representative of a local non-profit. It does not necessarily reflect the opinions of The B-Town Blog, nor its staff:]

Dear City Council,

First and foremost, we want the City Council to know that Burien Cooperative Preschool (BCP) benefited from even the few weeks we were able to stay in session, and we truly appreciate your flexibility. Two experts, Holly Moore (Executive Dean, South Seattle College) and Lori Rock (Owner, Big Idea Zoo) have led our school in a Strategic Planning process, through which the school board has united on an Action Plan to tackle the relocation process. Volunteers are burning midnight oil developing marketing material, running financial analyses, coordinating our community, surveying property options, and doing many more things to get our school ready for this big transition. Andrea Reay (Southside Chamber of Commerce) and Rodolfo Hernandez Martinez (Keller Williams Realty) have been wonderful resources on all these items, and Linda Akey (CANDO) has also donated time helping us explore and apply for grants.

At the top of our priority list is our Move Out Plan. However, taking any action at all on our move out, has been entirely impeded by the COVID situation:

    • The current state policy does not list any teaching or moving services in its “Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers” list.
    • We do expect restrictions to loosen in the coming weeks; however, at this point we do not know when provisions will be made for teaching/moving services. And when the provisions are allowed, both our teachers are in high-risk categories. This means the safest option for them is to delegate the packing to others (who may not be as aware of how everything should be organized), or to do the packing single-handedly.
    • Even if the packing can be done by a group of volunteers under social distancing guidelines, the process will take longer, and we will need to limit the number of volunteers helping us. It is also not in the interest of public safety until our health officials give us the go ahead that the virus is no longer an elevated threat.
    • We currently have a few properties we would like to view, but from our understanding of current state guidelines, viewing commercial real estate is prohibited – so the process of signing a lease for a new location is significantly delayed. If we need to move our belongings to storage AND THEN into the new location (instead of moving directly to the new location), it will likely cost us an additional $13,000.

The circumstances surrounding COVID have already created an immense amount of additional stress for our school. We have lost approximately $12,000 of tuition income, and we are estimating a loss of $20,000 in fundraising revenue – yet we are continuing to pay rent to the City, and we have chosen to continue paying our teachers. If we have to move our belongings to storage instead of directly to a new location, we will also be losing approximately $13,000 in moving and storage costs, not to mention the cost of potentially needing to hire packing assistance if our teachers are unable to safely pack.

We are asking the City to allow us to leave our belongings stored at the Annex under a new lease agreement until State Officials make it clear that it is safe to proceed with business without social distancing. This will relieve pressure from our teachers and volunteers during this very uncertain time, and it would save our school an immense amount of money in a year where we’ve suffered extreme loss already.

Thank you for your consideration…

On behalf of Burien Cooperative Preschool
Robert C. Atteberry
Burien Cooperative Preschool

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