Middle Village Prep taking applications for next year
by Benjamin Fang
May 16, 2017 | 2245 views | 11 11 comments | 29 29 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Middle Village Preparatory (MVP) Charter School, a middle school located on the Christ the King campus in Middle Village, appears to be accepting applications despite receiving legal notice to stop.

Last Thursday, Christ the King president Michael Michel sent an email to the community informing them about an ongoing disagreement between the Diocese of Brooklyn and the school’s board of trustees.

Michel said the dispute was over provisions of an agreement that the two parties made back in 1976.

According to the Diocese, the agreement limited the use of the premises for a Catholic high school. Christ the King High School leases part of its campus to MVP Charter School, which is a secular school.

Now, the Diocese wants the charter school to leave before the end of the school year.

“The Diocese of Brooklyn understands that some Catholic high schools need to generate revenue by renting classroom space,” said spokeswoman Carolyn Erstad. “There are multiple charter schools utilizing Catholic buildings throughout the diocese.

“Christ the King is the only Catholic school that operates without the consultation and consent of the diocese,” she added. “The Diocese of Brooklyn was left with no other option but to initiate a lawsuit.”

In November 2013, the Diocese issued a statement “acknowledging with great sadness and reluctance” that it was filing a lawsuit against Christ the King to make the change. The lawsuit began on November 4, 2013, after several years of “futile and disappointing negotiations” with the school’s board.

Recently, a New York State Supreme Court sided with the Diocese, ruling that leasing a portion of the campus to a charter school is a “breach of an agreement.” MVP Charter School was ordered to leave the campus.

But when school officials refused, attorneys for the Diocese sent cease-and-desist letters to the school’s attorneys.

“They continued to solicit students for the next academic year, in complete disregard of the Supreme Court’s order,” the Diocese said.

Michel said some aspects of the court ruling are now being appealed.

In his letter to the community, Michel said Middle Village Prep is pursuing all legal options, and will speak for themselves on this issue.

“While it is saddening to hear about the approach and the tone the lawyers for the Diocese have taken in threatening MVP, be assured that it does not affect Christ the King’s Catholic tradition and the vibrancy and health of the spiritual, academic and athletic programs,” Michel said.

The school leader wrote that the prep school pays for their use of the premise, making them different than traditional charter schools, which are publicly funded. He said the arrangement has generated funds that benefitted both the campus and the Diocese.

“In fact, funds from this arrangement have also been sent to individual parish schools to defray any effects that MVP may have had on that parish school,” Michel said.

“The Christ the King community has much to be proud of during the last 40 years,” he added. “We all share that record of accomplishment and together we will persevere long into the future.”
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Marie J.
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May 29, 2017
BISHOP JAMES MASSA’S ADDRESS TO PARENTS AND STUDENTS

Dear Parents and Students,

I am writing to clear up some misinformation that was disseminated by the administrations of Christ The King Catholic High School and Middle Village Preparatory Charter School. Letters sent home to students and parents indicated that the Diocese of Brooklyn is ordering the closure of Middle Village Prep. This is a misrepresentation of the truth and we at the diocese feel it is our obligation to clarify the facts.

The Diocese of Brooklyn believes in education, both parochial and public. Multiple charter schools currently utilize or share space in Catholic high school and parish buildings throughout the Diocese with the full support of the Church. We wish to see all of these schools, including Middle Village Prep, continue to thrive. But the power to keep Middle Village Prep open lies with Christ the King High School.

In recent years Christ the King has refused to re-affirm and honor its long-standing covenant with the Diocese of Brooklyn—a covenant that is honored by all other Catholic regional high schools in the Diocese. This covenant requires that these high schools operate in consultation with the Diocese when conducting enterprises unrelated to their function as Catholic schools.

After years of unsuccessful efforts to work in cooperation with Christ the King High School, the Diocese of Brooklyn was left with no other recourse but to file a lawsuit. In March of 2017, and after several years of litigation, the Supreme Court ruled that use of the premises for the operation of a charter school is a breach of Christ the King’s agreement with the Diocese. The court ordered Christ the King to discontinue the use of the premises for a charter school without the permission of the Diocese, effective at the end of the current academic year.

The diocese has made it clear to Christ the King that it will permit use of the property for a charter school, hence allowing Middle Village Prep to remain open. The diocese’s sole requirement is that Christ the King adhere to the same conditions accepted by all other Catholic regional high schools and parishes in the diocese.

It is the Diocese of Brooklyn’s fervent hope and prayer that Christ the King will forever continue to serve the young men and women of the Diocese and that the property will continue to serve the most worthy cause of education.

J.T.C.
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May 21, 2017
Right now, the only victims are the Kids in MVP. The Diocese should wait for the school to relocate so kids can continue with their education. Shame on Bishop Dimarzio if he forces MVP to leave their premises by the end of this year. MVP is an excellent school !
Tommy A.
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May 18, 2017
VERY IMPORTANT: Christ The King needs to follow the same rules as all the other schools! CK is choosing not to and resulting in the possible closure!

The diocese said in a letter to parents and students that closing the school is not its intention.

“The diocese has made it clear to Christ the King that it will permit use of the property for a charter school, hence allowing Middle Village Prep to remain open,” Bishop James Massa wrote. “The diocese’s sole requirement is that Christ the King adhere to the same conditions accepted by all other Catholic regional high schools and parishes in the diocese.”
Debbie H
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May 18, 2017
Wow - such small minded comments from people who don't know what they are talking about. Where are your good Catholic values? How can you possibly celebrate the closing of a successful school and adding 300 odd students to an already ridiculously overcrowded school district. Local Catholic schools are failing because they offer a sub education. The children of MVP are victims of typical Catholic money grubbing.
Tanya Smith
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May 18, 2017
Disagreeing is fine. Name calling people as "small minded" is not acceptable. Yes, I do know what I am talking about. The fact is the Christ the King Board of Trustees knew they were breaking the property contract with the Diocese when they began writing the MVP proposal and the Diocese said to stop. Because the former state senator and others lost in court, they take no responsibility and blame the Diocese. Always someone else's fault is the CK Board's excuses for so many scandals over the years. They created the current situation with the teachers, children, and families.
Mary T.
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May 17, 2017
Unbelievable how Christ The King Board of Trustees continue to be corrupt, game players, and now disobey court orders. Board members CREATED THEIR OWN Non-Catholic school on Church property!Very clear! You don't need to have a law degree to understand that was wrong! Amazing how many scandals this school has had as an independent school! The school has a horrible reputation in the neighborhood and most travel across Queens to get to another Catholic co-ed school.
Sally G
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May 17, 2017
Way to go Diocese! Christ the King did not follow the rules and are defiant to the Diocese and New York State Court System regarding MVP. Defiant politicians and lawyers are on the Board! They think that the Diocese gave them free property to create their own businesses. The parents of CK need to request that the Board members resign! How do you have the president, former state senators, wives, and a former Assistant Principal on an 'independent charter school' that was created by the President of CK????? Shame on you!
Tanya Smith
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May 17, 2017
Don't forget that a Board members daughter runs the other business on campus- The early childhood center. She was the best candidate for the job. Really?

I agree it is time for the parents of Christ the King to ask for resignations!
Michael Z.
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May 17, 2017
Christ The King H.S. created their own free middle school for grades 6 7 and 8 which hurt its surrounding feeder Catholic Schools in the area. They celebrate that that are financially assisting those schools. Enrollment is enrollment! Total disregard for the neighborhoods of Ridgewood, Middle Village Glendale having Catholic Elementary Schools. I am glad the Diocese wants them off the campus. Yes, Diocese they are in conflict and hurting other Catholic Schools. Nobody from any elementary school effected by Christ The King''s public middle school should ever put down Christ The King as a choice on the TACH exam. Save your money and get a better education at another school, where they are are run by moral educators.

Katherine R.
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May 18, 2017
How is it unbelievable? This school is doing better than most of the schools in the city, people like you are the reason these things happen. Now my question is if they do not allow a non-catholic school on catholic school property why was this school opened in the first place? This is all about the money and taking away good education from well deserving children and families. I am a student at MVP and I can ensure you that this school has set a future for many students losing this school because of the lawsuit would be devastating. Our school is amazing and not corrupt and does not have a bad reputation. So please consider the fact you are trashing a very good school. Have a nice day :)
Sally E
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May 18, 2017
I don't think they were talking about Middle Village's reputation. It is Christ The King High School that has the bad reputation.