Christian Church

Walnut Creek Preschool Faces Uncertain Future at Hands of Church

Officials from a Walnut Creek church are denying allegations of telling a preschool on its property the campus needed to find a new location.

The issue started in January when Cornerstone Fellowship merged a nearby church. "My School Preschool" had leased from the old church for more than 30 years and said the new church told them they need to close at the end of the month.

Chris Stockhaus, Cornerstone Fellowship executive pastor, said his church has never told the preschool it had to close its doors.

"That's not true and we never said that," Stockhaus said. "So my question is where is the documentation that says that we have forced them cause we haven't done that."

Stockhaus said Cornerstone Fellowship, a non-denominational Christian church, merged with Life-Gate in January.

The preschool was put on notice that the church may not renew its leaves when it came up at the end of May, Stockhaus said.

The church is working with the school to try and find a new location, according to Stockhaus.

"We can come to an agreement on a short-term lease where they can have more time in the facility," Stockhaus said.

Karen O'Leary, who runs the preschool, said she did not have enough time to find a new location and points to an April 12 e-mail from Cornerstone Fellowship that she claims rejected her proposal to extend her lease for another year.

O'Leary said it was clear she needed to tell the parents they needed to find another preschool.

"If I don't have a lease, I don't have a legal right to be here," O'Leary said. "And I can't enroll children in a school that doesn't have a lease. That is a licensing requirement as well.

There was still no clear answer late Tuesday. When asked if parents need to find a new preschool for their children, Stockhaus said "I don't know. I don't know if they do or not."

Cornerstone Fellowship said they would be willing to extend the lease over the summer until construction may begin here. The school, however, said that does not help because the campus is closed until the fall.

For now, school officials are planning to shutdown at the end of the month.

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