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State Seeks To Close Sacramento Montessori School

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(credit: Sacramento Montessori Schools)

(credit: Sacramento Montessori Schools)

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SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — State authorities want to shut down a popular Sacramento Montessori school because there are too many kids and children are sometimes unsupervised, according to complaints from the Department of Social Services.

The department also wants two key administrators at the day care and preschool at 1123 D Street barred from all facilities licensed by the state.

A Montessori attorney says the state’s actions stem from minor licensing violations that do not warrant such drastic measures.

Department of Social Services Filing 2009
Department of Social Services Filing 2011

The state says the school has been warned repeatedly that enrollment was over licensing capacity, sometimes 18 more children than permitted. Additionally, the state says children were routinely left unsupervised.

The Department of Social Services also says administrators Antonia Lopez and Marilyn Prosser interfered with the agency’s investigation.

Social Services allegations against the school include:

  • it hired 9 unqualified infant care teachers
  • failed to meet staffing ratios (1 teacher per 16 infants)
  • exceeded child care capacity (licensed 45, enrolled 63)
  • employees hired without criminal record clearance
  • an employee was fired in retaliation for cooperating with Social Services

In a complaint filed in April 2006, the department said a child hung his upper body out an unscreened window of a second story classroom.

In another complaint from September 2008, two preschool-aged boys were playing outside unsupervised on a second story deck.

Social Services put the school on 18 months probation in September 2009. The department alleges the school failed to follow terms of its probation regarding status updates and also fired employee Jose Figuera in February when the department was investigating whether he was hired before a criminal background check was complete.

(The Associated Press contributed to this story.)

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