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New trouble for Kidsville Early Learning Centers

Posted at 5:36 PM, Mar 17, 2016

Days after the Contact 5 Investigators exposed how Marshas Myrthil’s criminal past has not stopped her from racking in hundreds of thousands of government daycare dollars, the Contact 5 Investigators have learned inspectors from the Palm Beach County Health Department found safety violations inside the Kidsville Boynton Beach location.  

According to the reports, too many children and not enough teachers were present in several classrooms.

Meantime, parents and teachers are speaking out about the center.

“It's a very good facility,” said one parent.  While another who was asked if he was satisfied with the center in Boynton Beach said, “not really, no.”

One teacher described the management of Kidsville’s Boynton Beach location as, “it’s a joke.  It's absurd, it's crazy!”  The teacher asked us not to reveal her name.  Last week her position, she says, was “put on hold, whatever that means,” she said.

The teacher was given the news days after the Early Learning Coalition of Palm Beach County, which doles out money to childcare centers, suspended the roughly $400,000 government subsidies it sends each year to Kidsville's Boynton Beach and Delray Beach centers.

“For us to take this action, this is very, very serious,” said Warren Eldridge, CEO of the Early Learning Coalition in Palm Beach County.

Government subsidies cover the cost of childcare for low income children.  Suspending that money means more than 100 children will be moved to a new daycare

Eldridge said they suspended Kidsville’s government contract because of irregularities in the daycare center’s ownership. 

Last month, the Contact 5 Investigators discovered how Marshas Mrythil and her husband, Jean Benjamin appeared to be hiding their titles as owners by selling the daycare centers to family members.  Selling on paper means they've been able to keep government money rolling in.

Mrythil refused to answer questions when approached by the Contact 5 Investigators about this suspected daycare shell game.

It's a legal loophole former Florida lawmaker turned lobbyist, Ellyn Bogdanoff has seen fall through the political cracks for years.

“Some of these people should never have been allowed to open up centers,” she said in describing the issue that Early Learning Center directors are seeing across the state.  

Bogdanoff now heads the Florida Association of Child Care Management or FACCM.  The group is recognized as the state's leading association for early learning.  Bogdanoff is planning to draft her own bill that would limit who daycare owners can sell their businesses to.  Co-workers and family members would no longer be allowed.

“Usually the people doing it are folks that were told you can no longer be in business because there was something not right,” she said.

In Kidsville's case, Marshas Myrthil has a criminal history of credit card fraud.  She neglected to include that information on a federal funding application for childcare meal money.  As a result she’s already been disqualified from receiving those federal funds for 7 years; now she faces losing all the government dollars that help keep Kidsville Early Learning Center open and running.

Next month, representatives from Kidsville will make their case to the Early Learning Coalition on why the government should not strip the daycare centers of state and local government dollars.  Kidsville reps will also have to answer to the health department on the recent student/teacher safety violations discovered.