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University to close Laboratory School for Pre-School Students

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May 14, 2009-Houston-
UNIVERSITY TO CLOSE LABORATORY SCHOOL FOR PRE-SCHOOL STUDENTS, PLEDGES TO ASSIST PARENTS IN FINDING NEW PLACEMENTS FOR THOSE AFFECTED.

The University of Houston Human Development Laboratory School, which serves 41 pre-school students, will cease operations as of July 31.

John Antel, UH provost and senior vice president of academic affairs, made the announcement at a Faculty Senate meeting Wednesday (May 13). He said financial, academic and management factors contributed to the decision to close the pre-school facility and program. The Lab School is open to the public. About half of the children enrolled have parents who are not affiliated with UH.

A meeting between Robert Wimpelberg, dean of the College of Education, and parents of the Lab School students will be conducted today (May 14) to discuss options available to parents and to respond to questions and concerns. In the meantime, the university is working with Collaborative for Children, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving early childhood education, to place Lab School students in new preschools or child care programs.

“We will make sure that all of these students find a new school,” Antel said. “This is our main priority. We also will work with the UH Child Care Center to place as many of these students there as possible.”

Faculty members in attendance posed questions to Antel regarding the closure and the inconvenience and challenges the decision presents to working parents.

Antel responded that he is personally speaking with parents about the matter and that he is optimistic that the university’s partnership with Collaborative for Children will yield positive results in the search for alternative pre-school programs.

“I realize that this is a personal issue for many of us,” he said. “Many children of faculty, staff and students have attended or are attending the Lab School. We will work hard to communicate with parents and make sure their children are placed in quality preschool programs.”

At this same Faculty Senate meeting, UH President Renu Khator announced that UH has taken steps to ensure that tuition revenue will not be used for university travel or entertainment expenses. A recent internal review indicated a small portion of tuition money had been used toward travel and entertainment expenses. Khator strengthened and revised existing university policies to address the issue.

“As UH move toward Tier-One status, we must continue to live of up to the standards and expectations of Tier-One institutions,” she added.

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