March 13, 2020 By Michael Dorgan
A settlement has been reached between Christ the King High School and the Diocese of Brooklyn that will allow a charter school and a community daycare facility to continue operating on the school’s campus.
The agreement will allow Middle Village Preparatory Charter School and Christ the King Community Day Care to continue to operate on the CTK campus and puts to bed a five-and-a-half-year legal dispute.
In 2013 the Diocese of Brooklyn sued Christ the King for leasing space on its campus to a third party enterprise unrelated to the school without its consent. The Diocese owns the campus and signed an agreement with CTK in 1976 that allowed the high school to operate on the grounds independently.
However, the Diocese objected to CTK leasing space to MVP arguing it reneged on their longstanding agreement.
The Diocese also argued that Charter schools like MVP directly compete with Catholic elementary schools and because of this the Diocese requires that any high school or parish that rents unused space to a Charter school must remit 40 percent of the rental revenues to a Diocese Trust.
This Trust – the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Trust – grants scholarships to disadvantaged students attending Catholic elementary schools. Christ the King, the diocese claimed, did not contribute.
In 2017, a Supreme Court Justice ruled in favor of the diocese but in 2018, the New York State Supreme Court Appellate Division overturned the rulings that would have forced MVP to cease operating on the campus.
The new agreement reached between the Diocese and CTK will ensure that the majority of the property will continue to be used for the operation of a Roman Catholic high school. It will also make sure that the diocese has a member on the Christ the King board.
The school nor the diocese mentioned whether CTK would have to remit funds to the trust.
“Our residents no longer have to worry if their school would be evicted from its location on the Christ the King campus, and can focus on learning and the best interests of the children,” said State Sen. Joseph Addabbo Jr., who represents Middle Village. MVP has approximately 350 students and Christ the King Community Daycare has around 200 children in its care.
“With this agreement, the parties look forward to their continued relationship with a renewed commitment to keeping alive the Catholic Church’s mission and fostering the spiritual and educational growth of students and their families in our community,” read a joint statement from the Diocese of Brooklyn and Christ the King High School.