The founder and director of the beloved Montessori Children’s House (MCH), Effie Saifi (aka, “Mrs. Effie”), has one very special request for kind-hearted Plano registered voters: help her get 5,000 signatures to protest the city of Plano’s unjust seizure of her land for bicycle trail easements to construct yet another trail. Plano already has its own land within feet, which could be used instead of choosing to spend citizen funds to take this private property belonging to the one-of-a-kind MCH.
“This was my American dream — to finish my education, then pursue my passion to educate children,” Mrs. Effie said. “I am not against the city building the bike trail, I simply ask that they build it on their own land using one of their readily available alternate routes. This has affected many aspects of my life — my livelihood, my retirement, my family legacy, my health and my family’s health. And, of course, the trail will impact any future students and staff.”
It all started in 2004, when she bought 1.7 acres of land in Plano next to a beautiful creek to open her Montessori school. Mrs. Effie — who has a master’s degree in educational psychology and over 30 years of experience as a counselor and a teacher — opened Montessori Children’s House in this uniquely situated location mainly because of the lovely natural landscape. “I believe that outdoor activities in nature are an essential part of a child’s development and education,” she explained.
When approached by the city, Mrs. Effie always said the land is not for sale as she had plans for school expansion, but the city used the power of eminent domain to take the land from her. “That was very disappointing and shocking to me,” she said. “They didn’t give me any notice of the council meeting that authorized this land seizure. I was not able to defend myself. Among other false statements, a city staff member misrepresented my case to the council, saying it was just a vacant piece of land and would not impact the expansion of the school,” Miss Effie states.
Miss Effie wants to use the land to add more classrooms, build a playground, a sports field, a gardening area, an indoor gym, and to expand the parking lot. “Also, with the trail running through the school property, it wouldn’t be safe for the students or staff,” she said. “I would worry about exposure to strangers, child traffickers, and other criminals could easily target us. In addition, the liability of incidents on that section of bike path would fall on me.”
Your help is so appreciated! Please call or come by MCH to visit and to sign the petition ASAP. Plano is not allowing electronic signatures for this effort, so hard signatures must be gathered. MCH is linked with Planoites for Property Rights. For more information, please call or email.
1900 Hedgcoxe Road
Plano, Texas 75025