Founder of Side by Side resigns

September 3, 2009

THE FOUNDER of the Side by Side Stamford Hill nursery and school which integrates mainstream and special needs children has resigned from her fundraising role saying the project has grown “too big” for her.

But the man now in charge of the money side has criticised the school’s financial administration, suggesting that he was asked to take over after community members had expressed concern.

Confirming that she would be standing down from the fundraising role, Rebecca Rumpler said her decision had also been influenced by the ongoing dispute with neighbours of the new Side by Side site.

She founded the school in 1996 after being unable to find a local nursery prepared to take in her son Judah, now 15, who was born with Down’s syndrome.

Mrs Rumpler helped to raise £2.5million to buy the former Avigdor Primary School site but an estimated £50,000 was spent on legal fees when opponents of plans for the new building unsuccessfully attempted to force a judicial review.

Fundraising has been taken over by Yossel Margoulis, who said he had come in at the request of the community. “It wasn’t run professionally,” he alleged. “There were lots of problems and complaints. The teachers were not paid enough and there were outstanding invoices.”

However, Mrs Rumpler insisted that there had been no complaints and that it had been her decision to appoint Mr Margoulis. “There was nothing wrong with the running of the school.”

It was just that the new project was taking up an enormous amount of her time and she wanted to focus on the educational side.“The dispute with the neighbours was very stressful and has been part of this decision.” She believed the change would speed up the project. “I need this school to continue.”

Last updated: 2:31pm, September 3 2009