Fresno Montessori School Is Closing Again. Is It Final This Time? - GV Wire - Explore. Explain. Expose
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Fresno Montessori School Is Closing Again. Is It Final This Time?



Fresno Montessori School announced its closure in a letter to families late last month. (GV Wire Composite)
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Fresno Montessori School is closing on Monday, according to a letter last week from the school’s Board of Trustees to families.

It will mark the second closing in less than a year for the 54-year-old private preschool, which is located at the Newman Center on Barstow Avenue in northeast Fresno.

But there may be no coming back from this closure.

The Dec. 30 letter to “FMS Families” said that despite “valiant” efforts to raise funds and keep the school open, it was operating at a $4,000 monthly deficit.

The letter said the financial situation was so dire that the school had postponed paying taxes to maintain a sufficient cash flow for school operations.

GV Wire called the school Thursday afternoon seeking comment but did not receive a response.

Montessori Schools were founded by Italian educator Maria Montessori, who created the “Montessori method” of educating young children by encouraging them to learn holistically and at their own pace instead of in a more structured framework.

Longtime School Leader Died

A school supporter told GV Wire that the school’s decline began when its longtime administrator, Janet Fusselman, became ill several years ago. After Fusselman died in June, her son Eric Fusselman took charge of the school with others on the Board of Trustees, the supporter said.

When officials announced in September that the school would be closing, a dramatic response and outpouring of financial support caused officials to reverse the decision.

But even so, enough of its students had moved on that the school struggled with lower enrollments, the supporter said.

The Dec. 30 letter acknowledged that the September closure announcement sparked a spike in donations, including fundraisers, and prompted a reduction in rent at the Newman Center and other expenses, and an increase in tuition. But it was not sufficient to stem the flow of red ink, the letter said.

Despite some proposed adjustments, the board and staff decided at a Dec. 26 meeting that “we were unable to reach an agreement that allows the school to continue in a sustainable financial position,” the letter said.

Seeking Input

The letter said that school officials haven’t entirely given up, however.

“As a valuable member of the FMS family, we want to hear from you and welcome and appreciate any input, ideas or suggestions if you see a viable path forward. At this point, it would need to specifically address our monthly deficit,” the letter said.

School officials will be on hand from 8 a.m. to noon on Monday to distribute any personal items and issue any refunds, the letter said. In addition, school officials are in talks with the Fresno Catholic School system about a possible merger, the letter said.

Nancy Price is a multimedia journalist for GV Wire. A longtime reporter and editor who has worked for newspapers in California, Florida, Alaska, Illinois and Kansas, Nancy joined GV Wire in July 2019. She previously worked as an assistant metro editor for 13 years at The Fresno Bee. Nancy earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. Her hobbies include singing with the Fresno Master Chorale and volunteering with Fresno Filmworks. You can reach Nancy at 559-492-4087 or Send an Email

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