GEC rallies to save preschool program
Parents, educators and supporters of The Guild for Exceptional Children’s (GEC) Carrie Mastronardi Early Childhood Education Program gathered in front the State Education Department (SED) Brooklyn District Office on Wednesday, December 10, to protest the closing of their special needs preschool, a decision that would displace 242 children by January 23 if carried out.
“It not only is a shock,” commented Adrian Fernandez, a teacher with the school, located at 1273 57th Street, “but to interrupt kids’ education at those developmental years, that’s really what is tragic. This is such a formidable time for them.”
Earlier this fall, the Guild announced that it had decided to close the 40-year-old school as a result of nearly $2 million in losses over the past three years — due to the unrealistically low tuition rate that SED requires the program to maintain.
“It all hinges on the State Education Department’s ability to modify the way it looks at tuition,” said Executive Director/CEO of GEC, Paul Cassone. “I know that they’ve been working very hard to resolve this situation because they realize that these children are at risk and I think they were hopeful that other providers would be able to step up and as it turned out, other providers are willing, but they’re more expensive than we are.”