FOLSOM — A goodbye celebration was held Wednesday for the dozens of students and teachers at Brighton School in Folsom.
The elementary school is now closed after the city said it failed to pay rent.
Wednesday’s carnival was organized by parents like Lindy Hullibarger.
Hullibarger’s two sons, ages 8 and 5, have been going to school at Brighton for almost their entire lives. The boys are now enrolled in a public school, even though Hullibarger paid a $1,000 deposit for her sons to attend Brighton.
She doesn’t expect to get the money back.
“Most of the parents here, we’re such a tight-knit community, that they don’t even want their money back, they’d rather have the teachers get paid and get what they’re due,” she said.
Hullibarger says Brighton owners mismanaged their finances and kept parents in the dark.
“The owner actually was telling people and taking money up to five days before the closing date,” Hullibarger said.
Brighton’s CEO declined to comment.
In January, two of Brighton School’s preschool locations closed in Folsom and Granite Bay.
This summer, Brighton’s third location in Folsom’s Natoma Station Park also breached its lease.
The city owns the land the school occupies and a city spokesperson says in the past 10 years the school has twice defaulted on its lease and defaulted on a repayment agreement.
“They actually blamed the city, which is pretty sad because (the city is) blameless in this,” Hullibarger said. “This has been an ongoing bankruptcy issue for them for about 10 years.”
Hullibarger says the frustrating part is the school’s 30 teachers and staff were also kept in the dark until Friday, but administrators could have warned them about the closure months ago.
“And had they had the time to really look and had they been told earlier they could have had that opportunity but now they’re going to be on unemployment, they may or may not even get paid, and it’s not looking good,” Hullibarger said.
The Folsom-Cordova Unified School District says it is helping families find classrooms for their kids.