The EduArt Private Primary School at Ostroroga Street will most likely close its operations at the end of November. The heating was turned off in the building, so the children sat in their jackets during classes. The owner of EduArt argues that the school’s problems result from a dispute with the owner of the building rented for her business. He, in turn, claims that the company running the school is in arrears with rent. The debt grew to over one million zlotys.
Parents of students of the EduArt Private Primary School learned about the closure of the facility in the first half of October from a banner hanging on its fence. It said “for rent”. – Previously, there were no signals that the school was to be closed. From one day to the next, new schools had to be found for the children, says Jarosław Ważny, the student’s father, in an interview with tvnwarszawa.pl.
“Children sat in classes wearing jackets”
– There has been virtually no contact with the school principal in recent weeks. The director did not find a moment to talk and answer questions, including: what should parents of children who paid for the whole year in advance and want to get their money back do, what should parents who paid for extra-curricular activities do and whether the children will be they could go until the end of November according to what the principal recently declared – says the parent. The tuition fee alone is over PLN 2,100. monthly. Optional classes are additionally paid.
According to Waszy, the management explains the current situation as a conflict with the owner of the building that is rented for the school.
– The principal also blames the parents. As we found out, the teaching staff stopped teaching there overnight because the parents were demanding, our interlocutor said. He added that the school began to have problems with heating. – The children wore jackets during classes – he noted. Jarosław Ważny announces that the parents will demand termination of the contract and reimbursement of the costs incurred. – The worst thing is that everything is done at the expense of the children who have already become close to each other and have formed a group – he emphasized.
“The landlord made the work difficult”
In response to our questions, Agnieszka Wojciechowska, the owner of EduArt, maintains that problems with the functioning of the school result from a dispute with the landlord of the building at Ostroroga 24D. The lease agreement was concluded on July 14, 2020. In an extensive statement, Wojciechowska informs about the adaptation works carried out by the company that runs EduArt. He emphasizes that the landlord did not cooperate with the school and in fact “impeded its work related to the adaptation of the building.”
“The landlord, although the building should have been handed over with all devices and technical items constituting a functional whole, prevented the EduArt School from accessing the gas boiler room and sabotaged the fire protection installation,” Wojciechowska points out.
The school finally opened in September 2021. But – as the founder of EduArt describes – after its opening, problems with the heating and sewage installations began to appear. The school was to repair the defects at its own expense and make deductions when paying rent as compensation.
“The landlord did not recognize the effectiveness of the deductions made by the EduArt School and, despite satisfying his rent receivables (by settling mutual obligations), he took legal action. The legal dispute in this case has not yet ended, even in the first instance,” explains Agnieszka Wojciechowska.
Over a million zlotys of debt
Robert Uliński, the owner of the building at Ostroroga 24D, argues that neither he nor any of the people who worked with him hindered the adaptation works. – It was in my interest for the building to be completed and for the school to operate. Unfortunately, the landlord did not pay rent from the very beginning. The arrears currently amount to over a million zlotys, says Uliński in an interview with tvnwarszawa.pl.
According to the lease agreement, the company running the school in the period from November 2020 to August 2021 was exempt from rent, which amounts to PLN 38,000. PLN net per month as a relief for adaptation works. – According to the contract, the landlord was to provide us with delivery and acceptance protocols so that we would know what had been done there. The transfer did not take place. Alterations were made to the building that were not agreed upon. Then problems started with paying the rent. From September 2021 until the end of the contract, the company paid rent only once. Utility fees were not paid. Due to these arrears, two cases are pending in court – explains the building owner.
The school principal’s statement shows that the building owner terminated the school’s lease agreement in January 2023. Wojciechowska argues that until March, negotiations were held “on dividing rent arrears into installments, settling expenses and taking steps to repair the heating and sewage installations.” A settlement was never reached.
The contract was terminated, but the recruitment took place anyway
Robert Uliński confirms that he was willing to conclude it. – We came forward with very specific conditions. But the landlord’s lawyer was unable to offer anything, our interlocutor points out. – We had so much patience that it took over three years in total from signing the contract. I kick myself for allowing such debt to arise. We should have ended this cooperation much sooner, he admits.
Robert Uliński, indicates that in April 2023, the District Court in Warsaw granted him security up to the amount of approximately PLN 170,000. PLN on EduArt accounts. But – as he claims – the company provided an account that did not belong to it to its contractors and the city, so that tuition fees and budget subsidies would be paid to this account.
According to Uliński, since January the company was informed several times that it had to leave the building. The last such call was made in August.
But recruitment for the 2023/24 school year took place anyway. In September, classes 1, 2, 5, 7 and 8 were created, with 40 students enrolled. “The intention and intention of the company was to run a primary school in the building at ul. Ostroroga 24D in Warsaw for as long as possible. On the one hand, the tenant still hoped that an agreement would be reached with the landlord (…). On the other hand, the company could reasonably assume that at least until the final conclusion of the court disputes with the landlord and settlement of the incurred expenses (…) she will be able to run the school undisturbed,” argues Agnieszka Wojciechowska.
He notes that “the company intended to find an alternative school facility.” However, it does not provide information about the effects of these searches.
“You can’t run a school without students”
Recent problems have triggered a wave of student departures, totaling about 80 percent. “Currently, the company still provides and finances the work of teaching staff, fulfilling its obligations in contracts for the provision of educational services. However, due to the lack of students, the EduArt School will most likely be forced to discontinue its educational activities. It is impossible to run a school without students” – reported by Wojciechowska.
To the accusation regarding the lack of information, the owner of EduArt responds that “communication with parents takes place on an ongoing basis, both through messages sent on a publicly available Internet platform, as well as in the form of meetings with the management in the school building.”
What about tuition fees paid by parents in advance? “The company strives to fully settle all receivables and liabilities encumbered by it. If overpayments are found on the part of individual parents, the amounts to be refunded will be calculated in the tuition payment,” responds Agnieszka Wojciechowska.
We ask about the EduArt school at the Wola District Office. Due to the fact that it is a private institution, the local government has no direct control over it. He gives her subsidies for this. During the school year, it amounted to over PLN 121,000. Did the Wola town hall receive any complaints about the school’s activities?
“In June 2023, the Wola District Office received information that a child who attends another school is also listed as a student of the EduArt Primary School. After verification, proceedings were initiated ex officio regarding an excessive subsidy collected in June 2023 in the amount PLN 5,943.08,” replies Mateusz Witczyński, press spokesman for the Wola district. “Disturbing signals regarding the functioning of the EduArt Primary School began to reach the Department of Education and Upbringing on October 26, 2023. Therefore, the Mayor of the District asked the Masovian Education Superintendent and the Sanitary and Epidemiological Station to urgently take action in accordance with their competences,” the official adds.
“Gazeta Stołeczna” also reached other parents of children from this school. It turns out that those who took their children from the facility at Ostroroga have problems enrolling them in other schools. This is due to the lack of correction of the number of students in the system, which should be made by the institution’s management. Although some students no longer attend EduArt, they are still listed in the system as its students.
Witczyński assures that children will definitely find a place in their schools in the region. “If parents of students of EduArt Primary School contact the Wola District Office asking for support in applying to a school other than the district school, we will try to help,” he added.
On October 26, 2023, the Wola office asked the Masovian Education Superintendent to conduct an urgent inspection of the facility. A request for another inspection was also submitted on November 7, 2023.
Inspections with the school board
Andrzej Kulmatycki, press spokesman for the Masovian Education Superintendent, said that the inspection took place on October 27. “On the day of the inspection, classes were taking place at the facility. It was found that 7 students attended the school. Information was obtained that currently 8 people conducting educational classes were employed at the school. Entries in the journals indicate that the topics were updated on an ongoing basis,” Kulmatycki said.
During the visit, an employee of the school board learned that the school would only offer classes until the end of November. And this is inconsistent with the provisions of Art. 172 section 4 of the Education Law. “The regulations indicate that a school may be liquidated at the end of the school year, and the person running the school is obliged to notify parents, students and the commune in which the school is located at least 6 months before the date of liquidation of the intention and reasons for liquidation,” he explains. spokesman for the school board.
Kulmatycki also confirms that on November 7, another letter from the mayor of Wola was received “concerning difficulties in formally admitting students to other schools.” “In this regard, it should be noted that a public district school is obliged to admit a student, in accordance with the will of the parent, regardless of administrative matters related to SIO (education information system – ed.). This matter will be clarified by us. In connection with the information received notification (the written notification concerned one student), the Education Board will ask the parent to indicate the school that refused to admit the child,” sums up Andrzej Kulmatycki.
Main photo source: Tomasz Zieliński/tvnwarszawa.pl