Parents at Cobble Hill Pre-K Demand Answers and Tuition from School's Owner

By Nikhita Venugopal on April 30, 2013 8:50am 

COBBLE HILL — Parents of kids at a neighborhood preschool are demanding a percentage of their tuition to be returned after their school was closed earlier this year.

Linden Tree Preschool, a private pre-K, was housed at Christ Church Cobble Hill located at 326 Clinton St., for nine years till a lightning strike last year, that damaged the building and killed a 61-year-old state prosecutor, displaced the school and church.

While the school was moved to a temporary location, months passed with no communication to parents and school administration, despite being told they would be back in their former space within weeks of the strike, school officials told DNAinfo.com New York.

In January, Christ Church Schools officially announced that Linden Tree Preschool would close in June. They also could no longer use the “Linden Tree” name.

Five parents at the school formed the “Concerned Parents of Linden Tree Preschool Committee” and are demanding the return of 25 percent of the gross tuition paid for the 2012-2013 school year, which is approximately $187,500.

In response to the “delinquent and negligent behavior” of Christ Church Schools, the parents are also demanding the donation of all classroom supplies and school equipment to a new school being formed, according to a press release posted on the Cobble Hill blog.

“We’re at a point now where we’ve been ignored for a month plus,” said Scott Graves, whose daughter is a student at the school. “We paid for an experience we had in the past.”

The parents launched a petition for their cause, which has received 102 signatures so far.

Since September, the preschool has been operating out of St. Stephen’s Church in Carroll Gardens but they’re now looking for a new, permanent home.

Two members of the school’s staff recently formed their own LLC. The school, now called “Building Bridges,” will change only in name and continue its current program, mission and curriculum.

They had hoped Christ Church, who helped start the school in 2004, would assist in their search but the church has been unresponsive.

The parents say they are forced to take action against Christ Church Schools for their “consistent lack of communication, assistance and involvement and the substandard educational conditions our children have been subject to since the lightning strike at Christ Church in July 2012,” according to the release.

“This could have been handled so much easier,” said Graves. “I’m sorry to use the word ignored, but that’s the reality.”

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