The , a staple in the community for just over 15 years, has announced that they'll be closing their doors effective February 24th.
In a letter sent out to parents on Feb. 3, the center's Board of Directors (who ultimately made the decision) pointed to declining enrollment and a failed effort to reduce expenses as the main reasons for ceasing operations.
"It has been our privilege to serve you and the thousands of families that have entrusted their children to our care since the doors first opened in 1996," the letter stated. "After months of struggling the center can no longer continue to meet our financial obligations."
Debbie Stellman, director and employee of the center since its inception, said the closing means the termination of 11 staff members.
"From their point of view, it was a decision that had to be made," Stellman said. "My only objection is that it's a very quick time limit for these parents. I didn't expect it this quick."
Stellman said there is currently 13 full-time and 10 part-time children that attend the center. West Islip resident Derek Lundquist, whose children have attended the center since September, said the short notice has left him scrambling to find alternative daycare services.
"I can understand why the decision was made, but I can't understand why they'd leave so many families in the lurch this late in the school year," he said. "If they shut in June, at the end of the school year, I'd might be able to accept this a little better."