Kip McGrath Education Centre Naracoorte to close?

FOR SALE: Kip McGrath Naracoorte owner and director Carol Lawrie has put the centre on the market after nine years in charge.
FOR SALE: Kip McGrath Naracoorte owner and director Carol Lawrie has put the centre on the market after nine years in charge.

Kip McGrath Education Centre in Naracoorte could possibly close its doors at the end of the year if no buyers come forward in the next few months.

The after school tutoring service has been on the market for the last two years, but has yet to see a successor. 

Current owner and director Carol Lawrie said there had been two bids in that time but they had ultimately been unsuccessful.

“I’ve had two nibbles and both of those fell through for not being able to get the money and family circumstances which is understandable,” Mrs Lawrie said.

Mrs Lawrie who has taught for over 40 years, took the reins at Kip McGrath in 2008 and is now looking to semi-retire to spend more time with her family.

“I’m at retirement age and I’m just at the point where I’m really needing a change,” she said.

She is still willing to coordinate the KL3 remediation programs on a part-time basis but is seeking a full takeover of the tutoring service.

The centre averages between 60-70 students a week who come from local homes and travel from towns such as Bordertown, Kingston and Robe.

Parent Vicki Heym said losing Kip McGrath could create a huge concern for her family and many others.

“I don’t think there are other options unless you find a private tutor to come into your home,” she said.

Both of her sons attend the centre and she has seen one of the children who deals with dyslexia show massive improvement.

“It has helped him significantly with his reading ability so that’s been magnificent for him,” Ms Heym said.

“He’s now up to the level he needs to be and he’s caught up very well with his peers.”

Parents have been kept informed about any updates term-by-term through the centre’s newsletter.

The long serving educator explained that it wasn’t the $55,000 (negotiable) price tag that was hindering the sale, but rather factors such as working hours and administration duties.

“I think people don’t realise they have the freedom to set their own hours,” Mrs Lawrie said.

“The person who was to buy it would have a contract where things like tax, work cover and employee payments is done through head office now.”

Both women would like to see the continuation of the same passion for children's education, which prompted the start this service over two decades ago.

“Up to now it’s been seen as a community asset and I guess it’s there so we take it for granted,” Mrs Lawrie said.

“It’s quite scary for a parent not knowing where to get help for them but being so close as Naracoorte it just makes it so much easier for us,” Ms Heym said.

Despite time running down until the end of the school year, Mrs Lawrie is optimistic about selling the business.

“I really would like it to have a positive conclusion because I think its appreciated enough by the parents who come that the person taking over wouldn’t have to work so hard at building it up like I did when I started.”