2007-09-21 / Community

Dayton Learning Center Open,But Eviction Stands

By Miriam Rosenberg

Dayton Learning Center, which was served notice earlier this summer to vacate the premises where it is located, will not get a reprieve.

The learning center, located at Dayton Towers, is due to close its doors on September 30.

Joanne Smith, the president for the Board of Directors for the Dayton Beach Park #1 Corporation, spoke with The Wave on September 19.

"When we went to court [earlier this month], the judge made it clear that it was not an illegal eviction and it stands without prejudice," said Smith. "They must be out by September 30 otherwise eviction proceedings begin."

The Learning Center had been working on a month-to-month lease since June 2005.

Charlyene Blunt, the owner and director of the center - as well as a teacher there - said the school is operating and she is searching for another space. Yet, Blunt says she needs more time than the current schedule is allowing her to find a new home for the school.

"Actually, we're going to have to go to court to get an extension," said Blunt.

In the meantime, Blunt claims the board intentionally tried to close the school before students arrived on September 4.

Blunt told this newspaper that she and her teachers found the locks on the learning center changed when they came to clean on September 3. After calling the police, Blunt said a locksmith changed the locks so she and her staff could get in. When they returned for the first day of school on September 4, the locks had, once again, been changed to lock them out.

"The intention was to shut us down," alleged Blunt, who said the police had to be called for a second day in a row. "We couldn't get in the first day of school.

"It was a fiasco. We lost universal pre-k for the afternoon because the police was there."

An out-of-court settlement, according to papers The Wave has obtained, shows the board agreed to give Blunt keys for the area and repay her the $215 for the change of locks on September 3. Blunt says she has not yet received the money due her.

The first letter The Learning Center received set the date for the school to be out of the building as August 31.

"Our lawyer said we didn't have to pay attention to that letter," explained Blunt. "It wasn't executed properly."

Blunt said they received the second letter with a vacate date of September 30 to be out of Dayton Towers on September 2.

The co-op's attorney, Dean Roberts of Norris, McLaughlin and Marcus, spoke with The Wave on Thursday.

"They technically had no right to be there," said Roberts, who disputed their goal was to lock out the school. "They have no lease and she was advised by the co-op to pick up her things and be gone by August 31. She was on a month-to-month lease and, technically, didn't have possession of the space. She didn't tell parents she didn't have a lease."

Roberts also explained that, a notice had to be sent 30 days before the vacate date. Because the co-op gave her more time [into August] to make her case to stay, they got stuck in having to let her have the space until the end of September.

Roberts said Blunt had a license for 20 children and alleged that there were 42 in the program at one time. Blunt denied that saying, "I never had more than 20 in the program."

"I think the co-op should have begun litigation sooner," said Roberts.

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