VILLA RICA, Ga. — Teachers are speaking out after the sudden closure of multiple daycares and preschools.
Hundreds of families are affected and more than a hundred Sunshine House employees are losing their jobs.
Channel 2's Chris Jose first reported on the closures Tuesday, when the Villa Rica location abruptly closed.
Jose called all 29 Georgia locations following Tuesday’s closure and learned a total of four metro locations will shut down on May 26.
Jose spoke with several Sunshine House teachers on the phone who were very hesitant to give him information because the corporate office told them not to talk.
But one employee stepped up.
“We were not to speak, say no comment,” the teacher told Jose, asking not to be identified. “Right now, they have us tongue tied. And it's not right.”
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The teacher told Jose on Sunday that she has been with the daycare and preschool for several years.
“It's not a company I would want to work for ever again. I will say that,” the teacher said.
In a statement emailed to Jose from the Sunshine House corporate office, a spokeswoman said:
"Each time a building lease nears expiration, we undergo a comprehensive process that includes evaluating the long-term need for our services. After a detailed assessment, we decided not to renew four leases in Georgia."
The schools slated for closing are in Acworth, Woodstock (Highway 92 location), Dalton and Villa Rica.
“I just don't think it was fair,” the teacher told Jose.
The spokeswoman said exploring the option of closing the four locations started a year ago.
She blamed low enrollment, citing the Villa Rica was operating at less than 50 percent capacity.
But teachers and parents were only given a 21-day notice that it was closing.
“I'm a voice. One voice. And I’m going to speak. If I’m out my $500, if I’m out my unemployment, if I’m out tomorrow and they tell me to leave, I stood up,” the teacher said.
Sunshine House offered teachers a $500 bonus to stay on until May 26.
Unused vacation time will be paid out only if the teachers continue to work.
“You don't understand the impact of what you did,” the teacher said.
A document obtained by Jose breaks down unused vacation time and the $500 dollar bonus. If teachers leave before the May 26, they won't get the money.
Cox Media Group