PARENTS are delighted that a preschool at Mowbray College's former Brookside campus is thriving after winning the fight to stay open.
"This is a nice result for something that has been horrendous for our community," Caroline Springs parent Eliza Agapiou said.
The future of Mowbray's two sites in Caroline Springs and one in Melton has been uncertain since the independent school collapsed under an $18million debt and was placed in liquidation last month.
Mrs Agapiou, Tracey MacKenzie and Emma Nathan worked with the failed school's bank, NAB, administrators JP Downey & Co and kindergarten staff to continue the Montessori-style education of their three- and four-year-old children. "We started gathering expressions of interest from parents and from there we built a business case," Mrs Agapiou said.
Parents and staff approached Early Childhood Management Services (ECMS), a not-for-profit community enterprise, to handle legal and financial responsibilities.
After a five-week closure, the former Mowbray kindergarten reopened as 'Kinder for Kids' at the start of term 3. Sixty-one students are enrolled and parents are hoping for increased enrolments next year. "Out of all of this sadness there is at least a little glimmer of hope at keeping the Mowbray story alive," Ms MacKenzie said.
ECMS chief executive Bernie Nott said the organisation was concerned that the early education of many children could have been disrupted. "We know quality, early education is so important for the social, emotional and cognitive development of children," he said.
Meanwhile, Melton Council's application to rezone the former Patterson campus in Melton to a special use zone 'for education purposes' is still being reviewed by the state's Planning Minister. The move was made in an effort to prevent the former school being sold off for housing development.
A spokesman for JP Downey said the administrator was still investigating Mowbray's collapse and any eventual findings would be reported to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.
Deloitte was appointed receiver and manager in June. A spokesman for the firm said agents would soon be appointed to market the assets of the three campuses.
Western Institute of Technology chief executive Intaj Khan, who last month told the Weekly he hoped to buy the land to launch a new school,
said he had been frustrated by the process. "Why are they taking so long? They should give it to someone who is interested educationally. I understand the investigating is taking place, but that is separate. The assets are there." Mr Khan said it was important for the former site to continue to be used for education as there was a growing need in the area.