Tutor classes canceled due to utilities dispute - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Tutor classes canceled due to utilities dispute

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Children showed up to be tutored, but were turned away. It happened this week at Sylvan Learning in Cedar Falls because the utility bill had not been paid by the property owner.

The Sylvan Learning Center has been in the same building off University Avenue for more than a decade and is now the only tenant in the building.

This year, owner Ryan Thyer says he's had issues holding class because the power has been cut to his internet and phone lines. This week was the third time it has happened.

From inside the Sylvan classroom, everything looks perfectly normal with lights and working heat. But step into the back hallway, which is a shared area in the building, and you are met with a cold blast of air and no light.

 "Where the phones and Internet come in are through a shared area. The landlord is responsible for the shared area," explained Ryan Thyer, the owner of the Sylvan Learning Center.

On Monday, Thyer says he got a call from Cedar Falls Utilities warning him that power would be cut to the area, again.

"This here is how we run the business through all of these things here. You can tell nothing is on," said Thyer, pointing to the Internet router and other wires in a backroom of the shared area.

Without Internet access to the national Sylvan Learning Center database, Thyer can't teach his students. Despite paying his utility bills, he can't run his business.

"I am the one in the middle who is still paying the ultimate price," said Thyer.

A price students are paying, too.

"Parents are bringing their students here out of their own free time, out of their free will, parents are paying their money to come and get their kids help. Kids who have trouble in school, kids who want to get further ahead in school, but kids that are excited to come and do class. Then I have to be the one as they walk in the door to say, 'Turn around and go home. We can't do class tonight because there is no ability to do it,'" said Thyer.

Parents frustrated to hear class is canceled.

"It is frustrating because I bring her here to help her with extra school work and get her going in school to improve her grades. It puts a damper on her, a setback," said Amy Skalsky-Akhtar.

This time, the center was without Internet and phones for nearly two days. The power was turned back on around 4:30 p.m. Tuesday afternoon.

Thyer says he has considered moving but, unfortunately, that too would be a large out-of-pocket cost for him.

KWWL reached out to the property owner several times.  He has not returned the calls.  It's not clear if the property owner has now paid his utility bill but, again, power was turned back on Tuesday afternoon.

KWWL also reached out to Cedar Falls Utilities. CFU says it could not tell us what happened because of privacy concerns.

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