Mom fights for refund after son’s expensive private pre-K closes

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A Memphis mom is fighting to get tuition back after her 3-year-old’s pricey pre-K program closed for coronavirus.

Jackie King’s son Oliver attends pre-K — that’s two years before kindergarten — at Lausanne Collegiate School, a local private school.

Most children this age still have somewhere to go because day cares are considered essential, but this facility is closed, and the school says King still owes tuition.

At this point, she says that’s about $4,000.

“They say they have shifted to online learning and that they’re doing a great job and that’s acceptable as a substitute. That’s not what we paid for or signed a contract for,” King said. “There’s no such thing as online learning for 3-year-olds.”

Right now, King spends her days home with her toddler and an infant. She and her husband have always tried to give their kids the most solid upbringing, even though it can be a financial struggle.

Her payment plan shows tuition totals nearly $16,000 for the year.

“We thought the most expensive thing would be the best thing,” she said.

But in mid-March, Lausanne closed its doors, sending kids home to finish there, including her son.

The school still says she owes money for the rest of the year.

She doesn’t work and her husband has been furloughed from his job at a railroad.

“They’re basically taking food out of my kids’ mouths,” King said.

WREG contacted Lausanne for a response. They sent us a lengthy explanation, saying in part “every private and independent school in the world has a contractual agreement between parents and institution.”

They say the contract states “the obligation to pay the tuitions and fees is unconditional and no portion will be refunded or cancelled.”

A representative said the fees help pay staff for the remainder of the year.

The statement went on to say they haven’t gotten any other requests for refunds and it’s “been amazing to see our teachers and faculty rise to the challenge and deliver our students the best educational experience possible even in this difficult time.”

That’s not the experience King has had, so at this point she’s considering legal action and will not send Oliver back.

The school did make one promise to the Problem Solvers, saying they will refund extracurriculars. King says she paid about $400 dollars for gymnastics, and she expects to at least get that back.

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