Ridgeites move to save GEC pre-school
A recent decision by the Ridge-rooted Guild for Exceptional Children (GEC) to close its long-standing pre-school center has led local movers and shakers to piggyback on an online petition started by the Guild’s own Executive Director Paul Cassone.
The not-for-profit – founded in 1958 by family and friends of those with developmental disabilities – announced on Wednesday, November 5 that it will close its Carrie Mastronardi Early Childhood Education Program, Universal Pre-K and all associated services as of January 25, 2015 due to what Cassone called “unsustainable losses caused by an unrealistically low tuition.
“Despite rent, utility and other increases, its tuition has been frozen for six years and is substantially below the regional average for Kings County,” wrote Cassone on a Change.org petition that, in less than two weeks, has garnered over 800 signatures urging state legislators to save the school. “This has caused losses that will near $2,000,000 over a three year period.
“Since the NYS Department of Education has refused to address the problem, the GEC announced it must close to avoid jeopardizing the wellbeing of the vulnerable adults with developmental disabilities in its care,” he went on.