Tag Archives: diocese files to sue christ the king

Christ the King HS agrees to faculty salary increase


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Christ the King High School

Christ the King High School has been doing well financially in recent years and now teachers will see some of that success in their paychecks.

The school announced a pay raise for faculty members with a new two-year contract. School administrators and the Lay Faculty Association, which represents the faculty, came to the agreement, and made the announcement Monday.

“As a result of good faith negotiations, we have come to an agreement where faculty members will have an increase in salary, all the while maintaining a level tuition for students for the next three years,” said Serphin Maltese, the school’s board of trustees chair.

In November, The Diocese of Brooklyn filed a lawsuit against Christ the King to regain control of the school, because the institution has used its buildings for more than just a Catholic high school. The Diocese said that this violates a long-standing contract, but Christ the King said that agreement is void.

The board of Christ the King started to generate cash by opening up continuing education classes such as dance and Spanish, a day care and a preschool. Additionally, last year they started renting space to a public charter school last year, Middle Village Preparatory.

In the last three years the school has made about $3.7 million from these measures, according to Thomas Ognibene, the school’s lawyer. That money has gone to making repairs and underwriting tuition for students.

 

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Diocese suing Christ the King High School over control


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Christ the King High School

A two-year crusade between the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn and Christ the King High School is heading to the courts.

The Diocese filed a lawsuit against Christ the King to force the school’s Board of Trustees to renew a written agreement to stay committed to providing Catholic high school education or relinquish control of the institution.

“It is sad that we have to go to these extraordinary lengths to have our rights reaffirmed by the court,” said Monsignor Steven Aggugia, judicial vicar of the Diocese. “But it’s time for the Diocese to get a full accounting from the Christ the King Board of what has transpired over the years.”

In the 1970s the Diocese transferred control of the six high schools it owns in Brooklyn and Queens, including Christ the King, to non-profits, under condition that they run the institutions as Catholic, according to court papers.

This agreement must be reexamined and for the past two years, the Diocese has been trying to get the Board to reaffirm this agreement, to no avail.

This year Christ the King began renting space to a public charter school, Middle Village Preparatory Charter School, and the Board has also been operating various enterprises on the campus, including a day care center, online courses and continuing education courses in Spanish, drama, dance and karate.

In addition to getting the Board to reaffirm the commitment, the Diocese is asking Christ the King to turn over all leases for the various businesses that the property has been used for over the years.

“I think they are monetizing an asset and not accounting to us,” said Marty McLaughlin, spokesperson for the Diocese. “They are monetizing an asset that doesn’t belong to them. What [the Diocese] wants is a full account of what is going on there.”

Board members believe that the Diocese wants control of Christ the King because of the school’s amazing record over nearly four decades since transferring to Board rule. Thomas Ognibene, a former city council member and lawyer for Christ the King, said that the agreement in question was supposed to be in place for 30 years and the Diocese had until 2006 to reaffirm it.

“We’ve poured our life blood into that school and they’re looking to shut it down,” Ognibene said.

The Diocese also said Christ the King is the only school that doesn’t follow a rule to donate 40 percent of revenue from charter schools to the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Trust, which gives scholarships to “disadvantaged” children for Catholic elementary schools. However, the Board has said they have complied since July.

The Diocese said that they have no plans to close Christ the King or the charter school.

 

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