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No power at co-op. Changed location. Thoughts/WWYD


Plateau Mama
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This is more of a how would you feel than a WWYD because I can't really do anything. I was just wondering if I'm out of line on my thinking.

 

So we had a huge windstorm yesterday. Our co-op location has no power. They moved locations, 30 minutes away. My commute is normally 30 minutes. This location would be an hour away.

 

I told the director we would not be there because it wasn't feasible. (I have other commitments in the afternoon that cannot be changed and I just plain don't want to drive two hours for co-op.). I also politely said in the future I'd rather co-op be extended a week than change locations so far out. Her response was "we have several teachers who can't extend. Sorry."

 

So I'm a bit perturbed by her response. I feel like I paid for the class, to be held at this location. It doesn't seem right that we miss out on class because they changed the location to somewhere so far away. I wasn't expecting her to do anything today because the decision has already been made but in the future I would like for it to be considered.

 

My concern is now that we know this location has room for us and willing to host that they will use it as a backup location and IMO it's too far away from the original location to be a feasible backup.

 

Thoughts? I'm I just being cranky?

Edited by Plateau Mama
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As a one time deal, I don't think it's a huge deal. Surely this is a rare occurrence that you can't meet at your current location. Maybe you could volunteer to work with someone to scout out locations closer to the current spot for the future. 30 minutes is the max I would travel on a weekly basis and it would have to be a really great thing.

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There is no perfect solution - short of a closer alternative location. A storm really is higher power and unforseen.

Extending the coop to extra dates will cause scheduling issues for many people who did not anticipate the extra dates. if the teachers are not available, that's simply not an option.

I think trying to move to a different location is the preferable option. I am sorry this causes you a long commute you are unable to do.

 

I personally would much rather drive  a bit farther than suddenly have extra dates scheduled.

Edited by regentrude
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If they have teachers who have previous commitments so that they can't teach at the co-op past the originally agreed date, then it makes sense that they view the only viable option as holding it at another location.

 

Instead of asking to change the schedule (which is possibly a much bigger deal for everyone than just driving an extra hour) I would look for alternate locations or request that the director look for alternate locations that are closer to the original location.

 

Depending on the contract signed, I might request a refund for any weeks the co-op is not held in or near the original location, but I wouldn't ask or expect them to add weeks on to the end of the year.

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It's the same inconvenience - just in a different mode. When things go wrong, you relocate to a different location or you extend out a week. I would think you would be inconveniencing someone either way.

 

For us, because we have a busy schedule, extending a class another eek or two would mean we would miss the classes. For you, it's the extra driving time that causes hardship. I think any solution will cause difficulties.

 

You have my sympathies, but I think this is something you just have to live with.

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This is more of a how would you feel than a WWYD because I can't really do anything. I was just wondering if I'm out of line on my thinking.

 

So we had a huge windstorm yesterday. Our co-op location has no power. They moved locations, 30 minutes away. My commute is normally 30 minutes. This location would be an hour away.

 

I told the director we would not be there because it wasn't feasible. (I have other commitments in the afternoon that cannot be changed and I just plain don't want to drive two hours for co-op.). I also politely said in the future I'd rather co-op be extended a week than change locations so far out. Her response was "we have several teachers who can't extend. Sorry."

 

So I'm a bit perturbed by her response. I feel like I paid for the class, to be held at this location. It doesn't seem right that we miss out on class because they changed the location to somewhere so far away. I wasn't expecting her to do anything today because the decision has already been made but in the future I would like for it to be considered.

 

My concern is now that we know this location has room for us and willing to host that they will use it as a backup location and IMO it's too far away from the original location to be a feasible backup.

 

Thoughts? I'm I just being cranky?

Yes, you paid for the classes at that location and at the agreed upon days. In the case of an unforeseen and uncontrollable issue, something has to give: either the location is changed or the date is changed or the class is missed entirely. The director can't win with everyone and the teachers need to be given priority in terms of availability.

 

That said, I'd hate it too. A lot.

 

ETA: Just saw your post that there was a contract regarding makeup dates at the end. That's a game changer then. I'd politely reference that contract and ask for a refund for the day's class.

Edited by Hyacinth
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I'm sure they tried to find something closer but on short notice, you take what you can get.  I'm in the I'd rather deal with a different location than change the dates group.  Our spring/summer is booked from the moment our online classes end so it would be a nightmare of logistics to start changing things now.  Sorry the longer drive make it undoable for you but at least it's just a one time thing.

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If they have teachers who have previous commitments so that they can't teach at the co-op past the originally agreed date, then it makes sense that they view the only viable option as holding it at another location.

 

Instead of asking to change the schedule (which is possibly a much bigger deal for everyone than just driving an extra hour) I would look for alternate locations or request that the director look for alternate locations that are closer to the original location.

 

Depending on the contract signed, I might request a refund for any weeks the co-op is not held in or near the original location, but I wouldn't ask or expect them to add weeks on to the end of the year.

The contract I signed says the first cancelation is not made up. (We had that two weeks ago when the church, for reasons unknown, had no power.). Additional weeks are added to the end of the year.

 

I also don't buy that they have other commitments and cannot extend a week. The following week there is student testing which all teachers are required to be at. The testing date can be changed (and has in the past). That affects a lot smaller number of students.

Edited by Plateau Mama
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If this is a one-off, I'd just let it go because it's not a big deal one time.  But for multiple times, what is the written policy for the co-op when stuff like this happens?  How often does stuff like this happen?  I'd take my cue from the answers to those two questions.

This is more of a how would you feel than a WWYD because I can't really do anything. I was just wondering if I'm out of line on my thinking.

So we had a huge windstorm yesterday. Our co-op location has no power. They moved locations, 30 minutes away. My commute is normally 30 minutes. This location would be an hour away.

I told the director we would not be there because it wasn't feasible. (I have other commitments in the afternoon that cannot be changed and I just plain don't want to drive two hours for co-op.). I also politely said in the future I'd rather co-op be extended a week than change locations so far out. Her response was "we have several teachers who can't extend. Sorry."

So I'm a bit perturbed by her response. I feel like I paid for the class, to be held at this location. It doesn't seem right that we miss out on class because they changed the location to somewhere so far away. I wasn't expecting her to do anything today because the decision has already been made but in the future I would like for it to be considered.

My concern is now that we know this location has room for us and willing to host that they will use it as a backup location and IMO it's too far away from the original location to be a feasible backup.

Thoughts? I'm I just being cranky?

 

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The contract I signed says the first cancelation is not made up. (We had that two weeks ago when the church, for reasons unknown, had no power.). Additional weeks are added to the end of the year.

 

Well, then, I'd send her a copy of the contract you signed with that bit circled in red pen and a note that requested a partial refund for the missing week.  I'd be polite about it, but a contract is a contract.

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If the original location is without power due to a windstorm, might alternate locations in the same general area also be out? Maybe moving farther away was the only viable option.

Not really really. This area was his pretty hard but it's concentrated in a small area, like 2-3 miles. There really aren't any alternate locations nearby that are willing to host us. This alternate location has the same program on the same date. One of our teachers, his wife is in charge of that location and it so happens they live near that location. So it's not really a big deal to them.

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That makes sense for them; it probably works for more members to just drive the extra mileage (do some of them live in that direction to start with?  So it is not actually farther for them?) than to do the extra week.

 

However, because you paid for something that you are specifically not getting, there is no reason for the organization to both do the more convenient thing for them and keep your money.  The cost of doing the more convenient thing (against the terms of the contract) is losing the $ of people for whom it is not more convenient.

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We had a windstorm and no power all day yesterday and I don't see how she could help it if the teachers couldn't extend. I think you were reasonable to give your preference to extend, but she probably did the best with the circumstances she had. I have been a volunteer coop leader and there is no pleasing everybody, you simply can't, so I'm sympathetic to her light response. I used to get so upset if someone was unhappy when I was doing my best I didn't know how to accommodate everyone. I'm a lot tougher now that I've owned a restaurant for almost three years, lol.

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We had a windstorm and no power all day yesterday and I don't see how she could help it if the teachers couldn't extend. I think you were reasonable to give your preference to extend, but she probably did the best with the circumstances she had. I have been a volunteer coop leader and there is no pleasing everybody, you simply can't, so I'm sympathetic to her light response. I used to get so upset if someone was unhappy when I was doing my best I didn't know how to accommodate everyone. I'm a lot tougher now that I've owned a restaurant for almost three years, lol.

 

To be clear, I wasn't asking her to change today. I was saying IN THE FUTURE. If no one says what they prefer then we can't complain when it becomes the norm, right? I taught here for 3 years. I've attended for 5. When I taught it was always understood that classes may need to be extended so be prepared to either extend or have a sub.

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I would have just cancelled it. You have to be aware that "Act of God" stuff might mean that you are not able to get your money back. I have worked at many places and have had 'weather days' built into the schedule. Maybe that is a suggstion you can make going forward. As a teacher, I would not be happy with new location either. When we have had bad weather (and no planned snow days) I did an online class for students to attend. It is not ideal, but I did not hear one complaint. 

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Being a co-op director is a thankless job.  

 

If the teachers can't extend, (and regardless of your perception of their schedule, it sounds as if they told the director no), then the only options are 1. have everyone miss a lesson or 2. move the lesson location and accommodate as many people as possible.  

 

The fact that it doesn't follow the stated policy is unfortunate, and it is certainly justifiable to ask for your missed class to be refunded, however I wouldn't feel upset about the situation.  The director is just trying to make the best of an unforeseen circumstance.

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It's the same inconvenience - just in a different mode. When things go wrong, you relocate to a different location or you extend out a week. I would think you would be inconveniencing someone either way.

 

For us, because we have a busy schedule, extending a class another eek or two would mean we would miss the classes. For you, it's the extra driving time that causes hardship. I think any solution will cause difficulties.

 

You have my sympathies, but I think this is something you just have to live with.

This. Someone would end up inconvenienced either way. But there's probably someone out there who is now happy to have a *shorter* drive today!

 

Our coop has extra days posted at the end of the year for parents to pencil in as inclement weather makeup days - your coop should consider adopting this policy. Then it's a known that people should wait to plan their end of semester trips until after the final possible meeting date. Getting out a week "early" is like a bonus.

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I didn't see anything wrong with the response that some teachers cannot extend.

 

If I were you, I'd think about my options in the situation.

  • Make-up work at home?
  • Locate and suggest a better location in case this happens again.
  • Make the drive, assuming it's a rare occurrence.  See if you can do anything else near that location afterwards - visit a new library or park or whatever.
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I would just add that I've never gotten a refund for closure or inconvenience of location whether it's my kids' school, camp, sports, etc.  The only exception being scout camp, which was canceled all together after we paid.  We got a credit toward the next camp.

 

I think my reaction would be to do my best to make sure my kids got the make-up work.  Maybe ask someone to record the class or transmit it in real time if possible.

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The co-op should have a makeup policy. Sometimes the policy is "there are no makeups." Sometimes the makeups will be on a day or time or place that is inconvenient to people. That's how it goes. I wouldn't expect teachers to be able to extend unless the contingency were built in at the beginning. People have vacations and other activities scheduled.

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If there is another existing location for the coop, I would have expected them to use that location as the backup. I would ask for a refund for that missed lesson according to the contract but I am not surprised that they did not choose a nearer location if they already have an alternate location.

 

Two of my kids outside language classes has an academic year lease with the landlord (School district for the public school facilities and private school board for the private school). If they were to use other facilities for a one time occasion, they would incur a costly rental fee if they can find a place suitable. They do use subs if they have to extend to June as some teachers fly home for summer with their kids for language immersion with extended family.

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It's not actually a cancellation, so I don't know that they are obligated to refund anyone's money for that class. 

 

I think that 30 minutes from the original location is pretty reasonable, particularly as the OP said there were limited choices. 

 

I'd either suck it up and drive, or miss it. 

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The school where my daughter takes Japanese lost power this semester.  The class was not rescheduled.  I actually didn't even think about it even though we pay tuition.  Embarrassingly, I was happy the class was canceled and I didn't have to drive her there.  It's about 25 minutes away.  I looked a few minutes ago:  our co-op doesn't have a written policy about making up days specifically, but does include days to make up inclement weather tacked onto the end of the semester.  

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Not entirely related, but winters here are a hit or miss in terms of whether or not activities planned get canceled a lot.  We get snow regularly and very frigid temperatures.  So I've signed up for stuff in the past that got canceled constantly.  It's a pain, but that is how it goes around here.

 

But the real funny irony this winter was that it didn't snow and it was rarely all that cold.  So someone set up a snow shoe program that got canceled due to lack of snow.  LOL

 

 

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Yeah, our pool gets closed every time there is a thunder storm.  No refunds, regardless of whether you had paid lessons or just a paid membership.  If it's lessons, they may try to do the dry stuff (talk about water safety or whatever) for part of the class.

 

With school, it's a given that there will be hazard days, and they are usually not made up.

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I would expect them to cancel, and could not expect them to change the location or extend the semester. The fact that they chose to change the location allows some parents to attend. Extending the semester would allow other parents to extend. Cancelling allows no one to attend. Neither is right for everyone, but they tried. I do not think that any of the three options would entitle parents to a refund.

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As someone who teaches under contract for money at a co-op, it would be hard for me to extend a week.  It's really no one's fault they lost power.  At our co-op, everyone would probably just lose a week of class and we have had a couple classes cancelled because of a family emergency of one kind or another. 

 

We have had a couple weeks where we've had a snow cancellation.  And then other weeks when there was a lot of snow, but locals could get there and people further out stayed home and complained.  There's just no making every one happy. 

 

Anyway, I actually think finding another location last minute is pretty amazing and a decent compromise even if it doesn't work for everyone.  Extending a week would surely not work for some teachers/students as well.

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I think ideally they are entitled to a refund, but if we are talking very small operation, non profit, not big amount of money being made, and that renting space costs money then I would let it go.  That's putting too much of a burden on them.  Although I would assume the teacher is still being paid, at the very least.  The space might not charge rent though.  The times I get refunds are larger, for profit operations. 

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I didn't see anything wrong with the response that some teachers cannot extend.

 

If I were you, I'd think about my options in the situation.

 

  • Make-up work at home?
  • Locate and suggest a better location in case this happens again.
  • Make the drive, assuming it's a rare occurrence.  See if you can do anything else near that location afterwards - visit a new library or park or whatever.
 

 

There is no homework. The whole point is that the students/parents get a hands on day one day a week. This is a nationwide organization. I'm purposely not sang the name but if you are involved you know which group I'm talking about. I have commitments in the afternoon that make it impossible for me to make the drive. If I made the drive is have to leave early making it not worth the drive.  

I would just add that I've never gotten a refund for closure or inconvenience of location whether it's my kids' school, camp, sports, etc.  The only exception being scout camp, which was canceled all together after we paid.  We got a credit toward the next camp.

 

I think my reaction would be to do my best to make sure my kids got the make-up work.  Maybe ask someone to record the class or transmit it in real time if possible.

 I have alway gotten a refund or a makeup lesson. Even for swimming lessons and lightening. Always.  

If there is another existing location for the coop, I would have expected them to use that location as the backup. I would ask for a refund for that missed lesson according to the contract but I am not surprised that they did not choose a nearer location if they already have an alternate location.

Two of my kids outside language classes has an academic year lease with the landlord (School district for the public school facilities and private school board for the private school). If they were to use other facilities for a one time occasion, they would incur a costly rental fee if they can find a place suitable. They do use subs if they have to extend to June as some teachers fly home for summer with their kids for language immersion with extended family.

There wasn't an existing location for a makeup. They came up with it last night, so it's not something we were aware of. Now that I'm remembering we did use an alternate location once, 4 years ago. That location is about 5 minutes from the church.

 

All that being said when I taught there make ups were scheduled and as a teacher I couldn't say no. If I couldn't do the makeup date then I had to find a sub.

 

In the end I don't really care. We get to go out and celebrate Pi day. But I will say I am surprised by how many think that is norm.

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Well our co-op is a very small and local non-profit and organized by volunteer parents.  We do not have the backing of a big organization.  So part of the nature of a co-op is shared risk in renting a facility.  I do think if an individual teacher needs to cancel, they should offer a refund or make up of that date.  But when it's last minute and not the teacher's fault, it's not like the teacher has done less prep or effort for the class.  I make barely enough teaching to have my kids taking classes at co-op.  And I teach a tech class that probably requires like 15+ hours a week of prep and curriculum writing.

 

Maybe they need to make their policies more clear and people can chose if they want to participate accordingly, but it doesn't seem that unusual to me.  I like to tell people at our co-op if you don't like how it works or organized, to jump on the board.  We can always use more hands and ideas.

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There is no homework. The whole point is that the students/parents get a hands on day one day a week. This is a nationwide organization. I'm purposely not sang the name but if you are involved you know which group I'm talking about. I have commitments in the afternoon that make it impossible for me to make the drive. If I made the drive is have to leave early making it not worth the drive.   I have alway gotten a refund or a makeup lesson. Even for swimming lessons and lightening. Always.  

There wasn't an existing location for a makeup. They came up with it last night, so it's not something we were aware of. Now that I'm remembering we did use an alternate location once, 4 years ago. That location is about 5 minutes from the church.

 

All that being said when I taught there make ups were scheduled and as a teacher I couldn't say no. If I couldn't do the makeup date then I had to find a sub.

 

In the end I don't really care. We get to go out and celebrate Pi day. But I will say I am surprised by how many think that is norm.

 

You said you were talking about the future.  If you always have activities in the afternoon that make the extra drive impossible, then I guess you can't do it.

 

Are you more concerned about the $ or the fact that your kid has lost hands-on time?  You are unable to find another way for him to get that hands-on time?

 

If they would have canceled the class and said "suck it up," I could understand being upset, but they tried to find a work-around.  I think they deserve some credit for that.  I assume there is nothing stopping you from finding a better work-around to suggest for next time?  You know what they say, don't complain unless you have a specific suggestion to improve things.

 

If I were a teacher, I would not like the idea of keeping extra weeks in the summer open in case the wind blows too hard in March.  Travel plans are usually not flexible, and leaving June weeks open "just in case" is not my idea of optimal planning.

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Another possibility would be for you to arrange for your son to go home with another family after co-op, and then you could pick him up after your afternoon commitments.

 

Don't know her situation, but the problem with homeschoolers, at least here, is they are very spread out.  Every group I've been in people were coming from the far end of opposite directions.  So asking people to car pool never worked out.  Not to mention not everyone has large enough vehicles. 

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I'd probably let it go. Things happen, there aren't perfect solutions, and the people running these things are always annoying someone with what solutions they do come up with. I'm impressed they were able to come up with another location. Our co-op has no such luxury.

 

A power outage is a rare thing right? This isn't likely to be a problem again is it?

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Well, if it is THAT organization, the leader should have issued you a handbook that had procedures in place, including a policy on cancellations. That's poor planning on the part of administration.

 

If it is THAT group, you are the teacher, so you would be expected to be teaching stuff at home. There shouldn't have been new material introduced that you couldn't cover on your own. Sure you miss out on the gathering together, but the same thing would happen if you had a sick day. Something to keep in mind is that end of year scheduling affects the MM stuff - certain deadlines must be met to sign off and order awards. That may have been a factor in not rescheduling. Personally, if it's that group, I would not have expected a refund for my choice not to make the drive on one day. Now if they went and rescheduled the while year in a new location after you paid and without prior notice, that would be bad. As someone said upstream, they carried on instead of canceling, at least some community members were able to benefit even if you weren't, which is better than everyone missing out.

 

FWIW, Discovering Great Artists and Van Cleave science activity books are usually available at the library. Between that and www.halfahundredacrewood.com you can easily make up some activities. (I realize that's not exactly the point, but just in case...).

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are you in the seattle area?

 

the teachers availability comes before student availability.  sorry.

it's annoying to pay for a class your child wasn't able to attened do to outside circumstances - but they still held the class.
 

however - that doesnt' change the fact this location doesn't work for you. 

 

you could do the footwork to find a closer location that is also available on spur of the moment that could be the back-up.  but next time there's a windstorm - one or the other or both could lose power.  

 

you could also look for another co-op that is a better location for you.

 

eta: with windstorms - that location might have been the closest that would work - that had power.  I can't imagine them using it if they'd been able to find something closer.

Edited by gardenmom5
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Well, then, I'd send her a copy of the contract you signed with that bit circled in red pen and a note that requested a partial refund for the missing week. I'd be polite about it, but a contract is a contract.

Sorry, somehow I skipped over some of these interim posts. I missed the fact that there had already been one prior incident of no power. I would very cordially consider the above suggestion.

 

I have noticed quite a number of "neighborhoods" of this national co-op spring up. I am often not impressed by the business savvy of those who jump in as directors. I think at least making such a request as suggested above might put the director on notice that you have a business arrangement and that "homeschool-casual" cannot be the order of the day if she wants her administration to have a good, professional reputation.

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The contract I signed says the first cancelation is not made up. (We had that two weeks ago when the church, for reasons unknown, had no power.). Additional weeks are added to the end of the year.

 

I also don't buy that they have other commitments and cannot extend a week. The following week there is student testing which all teachers are required to be at. The testing date can be changed (and has in the past). That affects a lot smaller number of students.

 

Sorry I missed this as well!

Yes, I would bring this up.  If they don't hold up their end of the contract then I'd not be going back there.  That's not right.

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But the class was not canceled.  It was temporarily relocated.  Is there a provision for refund / extension for that?

 

I'm going to guess that the majority of participants were more satisfied with the relocation vs. cancellation / extension.  So sometimes that's how the cards play out.

Edited by SKL
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But the class was not canceled.  It was temporarily relocated.  Is there a provision for refund / extension for that?

 

I'm going to guess that the majority of participants were more satisfied with the relocation vs. cancellation / extension.  So sometimes that's how the cards play out.

 

I could see that.  Ideally that would be addressed in the contract.  I dunno though, maybe that never came up?

 

Sometimes our drama teacher does stuff like this, but she does work stuff out when a last minute change doesn't work out for someone.  She charges enough money for that IMO that she should do that.

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I would be frustrated, but I think their actions are completely reasonable. A one time maximum extra 30 minutes on each end of co-op is reasonable to avoid cancellation. I am sorry that you have both the maximum possible extra drive and a tight schedule. That is quite unfortunate. 

 

I understand the frustration of extra driving. I started a music class, a 5 year program, with my kids at a location 15 minutes from my home. The program was wonderful and affordable and conveniently located. Unfortunately, after that year, there was no longer enough demand for that location, so I was faced with choosing between discontinuing a wonderful program or driving to the next closest location 40 minutes from my home. I decided the program was worth it, and this is my 4th year of driving 40 minutes one way for this class series.

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If this is a for-profit, nation-wide organization, it's not a co-op. "Co-op", in the homeschooling world, usually refers to a situation where a group of people "co-operate" in creating classes for their kids. They may take turns teaching, or hire outside teachers, or some blend of the two, but the idea is that they are all sharing in the work and the cost of putting on the classes, and they are all benefiting from the things that can be accomplished as a group that would be harder or impossible to do on their own.

 

For a co-op situation, everyone is sharing the benefits and the risks of the endeavor. In that case, it's often best to overlook minor inconveniences and/or expenses, as fixing them would mean extra work or expense for someone else in the group. However, in the situation of a for-profit company who hasn't delivered what they have contracted with you for, a refund or some other consideration for your inconvenience may be in order.

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If you have an actual contract and that is what it states I would be a little upset too.  I know our co-op actually builds in an extra make up day just in case we have a snow day or something like that.  If something happens more than once  we actually have some extension days for high school classes that the other classes can join in on if needed.  The high school classes would either meet longer or just cancel one class.  Luckily that rarely happens.

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