Diocese Sues Catholic HS Over Leasing Extra Space

Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - 01:18 PM

Queens, New York City Christ the King High School (wikipedia)

The debate over sharing space with charter schools has now spilled over to Catholic school buildings, after the Diocese of Brooklyn filed a lawsuit against Christ the King Regional High School in Queens.

The Diocese contends that the school violated a long-standing agreement by leasing out parts of the building to other enterprises, including a day care center, continuing education program and, most recently, Middle Village Preparatory Charter School which opened in September and serves about 120 sixth-graders, with a plan to expand to eighth grade as it adds students each year.

At issue is a 1976 agreement which turned over Christ the King High School to a non-profit group to run the Catholic school, independent of the Diocese. That agreement stated that should the high school close, the building would be returned to the Diocese of Brooklyn, said Marty McLaughlin, a Diocese spokesman.

"This is a very extraordinary thing for the Diocese to sue one of its high schools," he added. "It's not something they wanted to do, but they were forced to do because of the reluctance of Christ the King to agree to anything."

McLaughlin said that the Diocese views charter schools, with free tuition, as direct competitors to Catholic schools. He said that Christ the King has been asked to pay a portion of its revenues from the charter school to the Diocese, as other Catholic schools have agreed to do.

But Christ the King said it has not violated any contract and has worked in good faith with the Diocese.

Thomas Ognibene, a school spokesman, said with declining enrollment at the Catholic school, it has rented out parts of the approximately 225,000 square foot building in order to help maintain facilities, operate the high school and keep tuition costs down for students.

About 1,000 students currently attend Christ the King, he said, down from a peak enrollment of approximately 2,400 students more than a decade ago.

"We've been doing this since 1995," said Ognibene. "The Diocese was aware of it and didn't mind at all," since any revenue generated from the leases was put back into the high school.

Ognibene added that Christ the King has been paying the Diocese a portion of its rental revenue from the charter school since July, as requested.


Comments [1]

Tony from Middle Village

Christ The King High School has had scandal after scandal. The Board of Trustees has politicians on it who play typical politics. The President of the school is on the Board of the Charter School and Founder! Yet he is the landlord for rent. Also, his daughter is in charge of the day care center, which also pays him rent. CONFLICT OF INTEREST. The negative reputation of Christ The King throughout Queens is worse now!

Also, a relative of the Vice President of Christ The King is on the Charter School, a former CK Assistant Principal, and the Chairman of the CK Board are on the Charter School Board too. I agree with the Diocese of Brooklyn in their investigation of the politics involved at Christ The King. This is why they do not get students from the area and they go to other Catholic High Schools. People are not going to pay their tuition for this. I agree, the school has always had a reputation of poor academics and student behavior throughout the Diocese for years. This is just one more example. In the past they had the abuse scandals by a coach and a religion teacher, renting the 4th floor to an internet company, spearheaded by the same Vice-Chairperson, which was doing shady dealings. It is time for these 35 year board members to step aside in an effort to save Christ the King from themselves. They claim to have saved the school in 1976..was it for the school or for themselves politically?

Nov. 10 2013 04:44 PM

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