Parents fear tuition loss after Montessori school closes
A family who prepaid tuition for their child at the since-closed Canadian Montessori Academy in Nepean are not optimistic about getting their money back.
On Monday, control of the school at 70 Fieldrow St. was handed over in court to BDO Canada Ltd. after the school's largest creditor moved to put the debt-ridden institution into receivership.
BDO said the school and the summer camp would remain closed indefinitely, and set up information sessions Friday for parents and staff.
Parent Arun Balachandran, who had already prepaid for the next two years at the school for his six-year-old son, said he isn't optimistic about getting his money back.
"We don't know what's going to happen to the money we already paid," said Balachandran.
'I was shocked'
He said his first sign of trouble came after he had paid the upcoming year's tuition and the school called, asking for more money.
He said the school's owners, the de Mel family, asked if his family could prepay in what Balachandran described as a loan.
"I was shocked," he said.
A few days later, however, he agreed to prepay about $11,000 in tuition for the next 2013-14 school year, and said he based his decision in part because up until that point, his son's experience at the school had been good.
Parent questions timing of receivership application
Now he has questions for the school's operators. But he also has questions for the school's largest creditor, the Business Development Bank of Canada, which alleges the school owed it close to $800,000 and had not made a loan payment since 2010. It was the BDBC that applied to put the school into receivership.
"If such a huge debt that the school owed … this should have stopped a long time ago," he said. "If I borrowed money from a bank and default one month, I get a notice of them taking over. If I don't pay rent — eviction. So what happened here? Why did other lenders, creditors, wait until now?"
BDO said the first of its two information sessions on Friday, at 11 a.m., will be open to parents of students enrolled in the 2012-13 school year or who have children currently enrolled in summer camp. The second session, at 1 p.m., will be for staff and employees.
The receiver said parents and creditors can contact John Haralovich or Andre Bolduc at BDO’s Ottawa office by calling 613-235-5225.