Last Thursday, Christ the King president Michael Michel sent an email to the community informing them about an ongoing disagreement between the Diocese of Brooklyn and the school’s board of trustees.
Michel said the dispute was over provisions of an agreement that the two parties made back in 1976.
According to the Diocese, the agreement limited the use of the premises for a Catholic high school. Christ the King High School leases part of its campus to MVP Charter School, which is a secular school.
Now, the Diocese wants the charter school to leave before the end of the school year.
“The Diocese of Brooklyn understands that some Catholic high schools need to generate revenue by renting classroom space,” said spokeswoman Carolyn Erstad. “There are multiple charter schools utilizing Catholic buildings throughout the diocese.
“Christ the King is the only Catholic school that operates without the consultation and consent of the diocese,” she added. “The Diocese of Brooklyn was left with no other option but to initiate a lawsuit.”
In November 2013, the Diocese issued a statement “acknowledging with great sadness and reluctance” that it was filing a lawsuit against Christ the King to make the change. The lawsuit began on November 4, 2013, after several years of “futile and disappointing negotiations” with the school’s board.
Recently, a New York State Supreme Court sided with the Diocese, ruling that leasing a portion of the campus to a charter school is a “breach of an agreement.” MVP Charter School was ordered to leave the campus.
But when school officials refused, attorneys for the Diocese sent cease-and-desist letters to the school’s attorneys.
“They continued to solicit students for the next academic year, in complete disregard of the Supreme Court’s order,” the Diocese said.
Michel said some aspects of the court ruling are now being appealed.
In his letter to the community, Michel said Middle Village Prep is pursuing all legal options, and will speak for themselves on this issue.
“While it is saddening to hear about the approach and the tone the lawyers for the Diocese have taken in threatening MVP, be assured that it does not affect Christ the King’s Catholic tradition and the vibrancy and health of the spiritual, academic and athletic programs,” Michel said.
The school leader wrote that the prep school pays for their use of the premise, making them different than traditional charter schools, which are publicly funded. He said the arrangement has generated funds that benefitted both the campus and the Diocese.
“In fact, funds from this arrangement have also been sent to individual parish schools to defray any effects that MVP may have had on that parish school,” Michel said.
“The Christ the King community has much to be proud of during the last 40 years,” he added. “We all share that record of accomplishment and together we will persevere long into the future.”