The Aladdin child-care centers, which must move from a former Redondo Beach elementary school next month to make way for a new tenant, will submit a bid this week for a short-term lease at the Center Middle School in Manhattan Beach, Aladdin owner Clara Whiteman said last week.
If Aladdin is awarded the 10-month lease, the child-care centers will move into the Manhattan school no later than Sept. 1, Whiteman said. The middle school is scheduled to close permanently at the end of this month, district officials said.
“The bid package specifies Sept. 1, but we would work with the district to try and move that date up,” Whiteman said. “We don’t want to disrupt our services.’
The Aladdin Day-Care Center and the Aladdin Infant-Care Center must leave the former Fulton Elementary School in Redondo by July 31, despite emotional appeals to the Redondo school board last week by parents of the 200 children enrolled at the centers. Whiteman has operated the day-care center at the Fulton site since 1981 and the infant-care center since 1983.
Early last month, the Redondo school board rejected a bid from Aladdin for a seven-year lease at the elementary school, awarding the lease instead to Coast Christian School, a private school affiliated with the Calvary Church of the Coastlands in Torrance. District officials and the trustees said the Aladdin bid did not meet minimum requirements because it relied on state credits for a portion of monthly rent payments.
Whiteman said last week that she decided to bid on the Manhattan site after meeting with Janet Holt, business manager of the Manhattan school district. “I asked them point blank, ‘Do you want us?’ ” Whiteman said. “I feel comforted that they do want the children in Manhattan Beach.”
Whiteman said, however, that Holt offered no assurances that the Manhattan school board would select the Aladdin bid over others when it considers the bids on June 12.
“They do have a problem, and they have to find someplace to operate,” Holt explained last week. "(But) I would have no way of knowing what the board would say.”
Whiteman said that she had not yet decided whether her bid to the Manhattan school district will include the same state credits that the Redondo trustees rejected in the bid for the Fulton school. Holt said the issue of state credits, which are distributed to districts on the basis of the number of students enrolled, has never arisen during a bidding process in Manhattan.
The Manhattan school district has asked for a minimum bid of 84 cents per square foot of classroom space at the Center Middle School, Holt said. Whiteman said the centers could not afford to pay that in cash.
Aladdin will need 17 classrooms, Whiteman said, which, at the 84-cent rate, would translate into $137,088 rent for the duration of the lease. Aladdin had offered $80,000 in cash and $110,000 in state credits for a one-year lease at the Fulton school.
Holt said the Center Middle School will probably be converted into new district offices after the 10-month lease expires. While the lease is only short-term, Whiteman said it would give Aladdin time to find a permanent home.