With the future of their school hanging in the balance, hundreds of students at Middle Village Preparatory Charter School (MVP) began their first day of the new school year on Monday morning.
As a judge continues to deliberate a ruling in the lawsuit between the Diocese of Brooklyn and Queens and Christ the King High School (CTK), parents, teachers, students and leaders at MVP proudly announced the start of school at a press conference outside the middle school at 68-02 Metropolitan Ave. on Monday, Aug. 28.
Earlier this year, it was announced that the diocese was suing CTK, charging that the high school renting out space on its campus to the secular middle school violates a 40-year-old agreement between the two entities. If the judge rules in favor of the diocese, it could spell the end for MVP, and the over 400 students that attend MVP would need to find other schools in the already overcrowded School District 24.
“Today is the first day of school and we are very excited to see the children start another school year,” said Josephine Lume, board chair of MVP. “We are working very hard to give them a safe and welcoming place to learn. Of course there is still uncertainty because of the diocese lawsuit, but we do trust the process. We are waiting for the judge to make a decision. In the meantime, school started today; the kids came in on time and very excited.”
Not only has MVP provided quality education for students in grades six through eight, explained Serphin Maltese, vice chair of MVP’s board of trustees, but it has also allowed the other schools on the CTK Campus to benefit as well. Christ the King High School and the Christ the King Community Day Care/Preschool provides older MVP students with mentorship opportunities, and high schoolers looking to get into teaching a place to get hands-on training right on the campus, and many other programs.
“I feel MVP is very great school. It did outdo state test standards,” said Daniela Valdes, a seventh-grader at MVP. “Everyone here is very friendly; it really is a big family. Coming to MVP last year as a sixth-grader was a really good year for me. I got on the National Juniors Honor Society, which is a great honor.”
“I think it’s really sad that the Brooklyn Diocese wants to take away the foundation of our education,” added Daniella DiSanti, an eighth-grader at MVP. “Especially when the school has been so good with the extracurricular activities and the academics.”
Although the future is unclear for MVP, Maltese is confident that the judge will rule in favor of the school.
“Middle Village Prep is here to stay,” Maltese said at the conclusion of the conference. “The very fact that the court has delayed its ruling till the first day of school indicates to many people and our lawyers, that the court does not appear to have decided to close the school at this time. Our attorneys feel at the minimum we will have the three years that the school has the present students in the school and the court will, in its good judgement, give those students an opportunity to graduate no matter what else they decide.”
In a statement, the diocese reiterated that the lawsuit is between the diocese and CTK.
“This dispute is between the Diocese of Brooklyn and Christ the King High School,” a diocese spokesperson said. “The Diocese wishes Middle Village Preparatory Charter School, its parents, and students a successful school year.”