It's official: The former Bay View Elementary School is now the Monterey Early Childhood Center.

Trustees for the Monterey Peninsula Unified School District officially gave the green light this week to establishing the early childhood center starting this fall.

The center, at 680 Belden St., will have an infant diagnostic center for children with special needs, an early childhood development clinic and a preschool.

The district board heard no concerns about the new program, said Curt Parker, president of the board of trustees. The plan, which was in the works for at least a half year, was approved unanimously Monday, he said.

In partnership with the San Andreas Regional Center, the early childhood center will evaluate children referred for special education services from all Peninsula cities. Children up to 3 years old diagnosed with a developmental delay, or are at risk to develop one, will receive intensive therapy and individual academic instruction at the site.

The state preschool, based on the Reggio Emilia education method, will have capacity for up to 24 students.

MPUSD administrators estimate the early childhood center will bring in nearly $900,000 in revenue and cost about $742,000 in its first year of operation.

The program is scheduled to begin in the fall. Administrators estimate they will spend about $32,000 to prepare the building with "minor cosmetic upgrades including interior paint, carpet cleaning, play structure upgrades and minor technology upgrades," according to a report to the trustees.


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No representatives from Bay View Academy charter school, which requested use of the building on Belden Street, spoke during the meeting, Parker said.

"We were there a few months ago," said Bill Shaw, president of the Bay View Academy board. "We had sent them a letter in the fall explaining what a good fit it would be to have Bay View Academy there. We did as much as we could."

Instead, there were several people protesting the board's decision to grant paid leave for retiring Superintendent Marilyn Shepherd, Parker said. Last week, the board approved Shepherd's request for a leave of absence for the remainder of her time in the district, scheduled to end by the end of the school year in June.

The board also approved appointing Leslie Codianne as interim superintendent. Codianne, associate superintendent of student support services, has been acting superintendent since Shepherd went on leave in January. The board is scheduled to approve her contract at the next board meeting.

Claudia Meléndez Salinas can be reached at 753-6755 or cmelendez@montereyherald.com.