Golden State YMCA closing down preschool, afterschool programs

VISALIA, Calif. (KFSN) -- Action News has learned that Golden State YMCA is closing down all of its preschool and afterschool programs. The organization serves 200 children in Visalia and Farmersville.

Golden State YMCA has been a staple in the South Valley for decades, providing afterschool programs for elementary age students and preschool for toddlers at its locations in Farmersville and Parkview and Whitendale facilities in Visalia. Soon, though, those programs will be gone.

"It's really a heartbreaking decision but it's been a decision long in the making. The board has been looking at its childcare program for some time," said Jason Shearer, CEO of Golden State YMCA.

Golden state YMCA will still be running its summer camp but all three of its preschools and afterschool programs will close down on April 3rd.

Parents contacted Action News saying they were first notified of the closure on Friday. In a letter to parents, Golden State YMCA says despite receiving money from the state they still couldn't garner enough funds to stay open. Enrollment numbers have dwindled down to just 200 children for all three programs.

"The cost of the childcare program to operate is greater than the revenue that's generated, and significantly so, and unfortunately it just became necessary to close down the childcare centers," said Shearer.

Officials are still hoping another organization will move into the facilities and offer preschool programs. The California Department of Education is working on trying to make that transition happen.

"The board's goal is that these centers could be used for childcare, and so they're invested in at least making them available to partners who might be willing to serve these same families," said Shearer.

Golden State YMCA and the state will be meeting with parents on Tuesday to go over their options in finding new care for their children.

The closure of the Golden State YMCA comes after Fresno's YMCA programs shut down several years ago. Recently, the Kings County YMCA closed its doors as well.

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