Biloxi Daycare Center Gets The Boot From Church - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

11/13/02

Biloxi Daycare Center Gets The Boot From Church

A tiny toddler slept on a mat. Little Kyla couldn't dream that her mom was outside the Discovery Learning Center almost in tears. "Do I have to quit my job because I can't find her a place," Yvonne Lowery asked.

Time has just about run out for this 24 year old Biloxi daycare center. Mary Lynn Scaturro's lease with St. John Catholic Church expires December 31st.

"There is a chapter closing in my life," the daycare center owner said. "At this very moment, my business is dissolving all around me. I feel really bad for my parents." The parents feel really bad for their children.

"From the day that I dropped my child off here, I had no concerns," said Cheryl Harrison.

But suddenly, Harrison and the other 13 parents at the daycare center on Tuesday had assortment of concerns. They have a little more than two weeks to move their children to new daycare centers, if they can find facilities with space available. Wendy Sprague said she was "very frustrated at the whole situation."

The parents met in front of the Lameuse Street daycare center during lunch breaks. They spoke for their children about the demise of their daycare center. When Priscilla Wells told her son that he wouldn't be graduating with the kids he's spent the last few years with, she said "He was like, 'Mommy what am I going to do? I love my school. I love this playground.'"

The Discovery Learning Center knew in July that St. John Catholic Church was ending its lease. So owners started looking for a new building to rent somewhere close to the Lameuse Street complex. But it wasn't until last week that parents discovered that their kids home away from home was about to close.

The situation made Brooke Ryan cry. As a child, she attended the Discovery Learning Center. Now, her children go there. "It's a generation that has grown up here," she said. "They'll never find another place like it."

The parents said this is one nightmare that won't end when their little Discovery Learning Center toddlers wake up from their naps.

Reverend Ivan Weis runs St. John Catholic Church. A letter he sent to the daycare center in July said the church doesn't want any unreleated programs housed on its site. When WLOX News called to talk with him about the lease, we were told he was out of town until Friday.

WLOX News also called the Catholic Diocese of Biloxi. A spokesperson said property issues are the responsibility of the individual church, not the bishop's office.

by Brad Kessie

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