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Friday, November 15, 2013

The Reason Why Wise Owl is on the Move


The smell of sanitizer was wafting throughout the basement of the First Baptist Church in Fort Thomas where the Wise Owl Pre-School is located. All of the children had long been picked up by their parents where they were no doubt scurrying about, jostling toys and playing with their brothers and sisters. There was a leftover Busken box that carried someone's birthday treats and Director, Cindy Roth, was still in her office cleaning and organizing for the next day.


"It's a very sad day here," said First Baptist Church Treasurer, Lori Orne. "A lot of emotion is wrapped around the decision (to cut ties) with Wise Owl. A lot of tears have been shed."




Last week Roth and Wise Owl sent a letter to its parents, explaining that after 40 years, their relationship with the church would be coming to an end, meaning that they would have to secure another location for the 2014-2015 school year. Registration for upcoming school years begin in January, which is less than 2 months away.

No explanation was given in the letter to the parents, except for the fact that the church had chosen to discontinue their pre-school outreach.

"I'm not sure that most people realize that Wise Owl is a ministry of the church because Cindy and Nancy do such a great job with it," said Orne. "When I sent my son there I wasn't a member of the church. I just assumed Wise Owl rented space."

Wise Owl pays a percentage of their revenue to the church as well as paying a portion of utilities, insurance and maintenance.

"The issue was brought up by the trustees of the church and presented to the congregation in October. It personally took me by surprise, but the majority of the congregation made the decision to discontinue the outreach," said Orne. "We have a declining (church) population, and with the building deterioration, rising insurance costs and potential liabilities we had to balance the Wise Owl ministry with where we were as a congregation. We decided we just couldn't keep up."

Wise Owl is determined to have a facility open for the next school year. They have been actively searching and according to Cindy Roth, has been proactively reached out to.

"It's nice to be wanted. We are hoping to have something for our parents very soon," said Roth.

Orne described one scenario that led to the decision of not continuing the Wise Owl ministry as one of "a worst case" occurrence. "It's so sad that you have to even consider this, but the Trustees of the church brought up the point and wondered just how secure the building could be from people who shouldn't be here from staying out," she said.

Wise Owl is secured by a locked door and according to the pre-school, not even delivery personnel are allowed into the facility while the children are there.

"We are used to the church setting," said Nancy Pogue, also of Wise a Owl. "I would imagine we would look in those types of facilities first."


6 comments:

  1. We all know it's what's on the inside that counts - & there is a whole lot of love inside those doors of Wise Owl. The rich tradition will continue wherever the pre-school is housed!

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  2. "We have a declining (church) population, and with the building deterioration, rising insurance costs and potential liabilities we had to balance the Wise Owl ministry with where we were as a congregation. We decided we just couldn't keep up."

    And the revenue that Wise Owl brings in doesn't help offset the declining revenues likely associated with a declining and probably aging church population?

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  3. Maybe Mio's could move in there....

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  4. "And the revenue that Wise Owl brings in doesn't help offset the declining revenues likely associated with a declining and probably aging church population?" I'm no tax attorney or CPA, but I believe the answer to this question is "no, it can't". If the church would accept any more revenue for this than it takes to cover costs, it would be acting as a business rather than as a church and would therefore risk losing its' tax exempt status.

    Perhaps some tax attorney out there could confirm this?

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  5. First baptist church has been on a decline for many years. It has not had a childrens program in years. The church is forced to look at the truth of the matter that it has not/and is not, growing. And therefore must make the decision to shut down. The first step is to not let Wise Owl Preschool to be misled and give them ample time to relocate before the church closes their doors indefinitely.

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  6. The church has been dying for 5 years. It was only a matter time before that they would have to ask Wise Owl to relocate. The 2014 year is very iffy for the FBC. I am thankful that they have the decency to give Wise Owl a heads up that the doors may close by 2015

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