Guild gets early Christmas presents in good news and gifts

December 24, 2014 Meaghan McGoldrick
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Christmas came early for the Guild for Exceptional Children’s Carrie Mastronardi Early Childhood Education Center.

On Tuesday, December 23, the pre-school received word that a recent tuition recommendation that would save the school had been approved by the New York State Division of Budget (DOB). The good news came just minutes before Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis walked through the door with dozens of donated gifts for the children.

“They literally just called me,” said GEC Executive Director Paul Cassone.

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The Guild announced in early November that the pre-school – which currently serves more than 200 developmentally disabled children in languages from English and Spanish to Cantonese and Mandarin – would close to enable the rest of the Guild to operate as is.

According to Cassone, the recommendation – made by the New York State Education Department just hours after the Guild and its supporters rallied outside of the agency’s Brooklyn District Office – includes a necessary tuition increase that will both reimburse the organization for a percentage of its past losses and also stabilize tuition so that its pre-school program can continue well into the New Year.

While he was still unclear whether or not Governor Andrew Cuomo also okay-ed the recommendation, Cassone was certain that the green light from DOB was a cause worth celebrating.

“This is the best Christmas present ever,” he said. “We couldn’t be happier.”

“This is my favorite event of the year,” Malliotakis said before joining the Guild’s chorus in a rousing rendition of the Christmas classic, Jingle Bells. The toys were collected locally from Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Church, the Dimitrious & Georgia Kaloidis Parochial School, and Salam Arabic Lutheran Church.

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