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May 13, 2016 2:52 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Parents Create Online Petition To Save Child Development Center Of The Hamptons

Kevin Gersh, Founder and CEO of Gersh Management, gave an English-Spanish bilingual presentation at Child Development Center of the Hamptons in February.
May 17, 2016 2:29 PM

Just days after the announcement of the pending closure of the Child Development Center of the Hamptons, the South Fork’s sole charter school offering special education, regular education and preschool services, parents have organized a petition on Change.org calling for its preservation.

The petition, which has so far gathered more than 100 signatures, is titled “Keep CDCH OPEN” and is addressed to Kevin Gersh, the CEO of Gersh Academy—which earlier this year announced that it would take over management of CDCH and develop strategies to not only keep the school open, but increase enrollment and enrich programs.

On Monday, however, Gersh Management announced it would not be taking over the school due to “a number of factors” beyond its control. Representatives from the firm would not disclose what those factors were, however, board meeting minutes documented by the CDCH, which is located in Wainscott, showed a history of financial trouble with debts of more than $350,000 and decreased enrollment.

CDCH parent Emily Eggers of East Hampton created the petition on Wednesday, which reminds the company of the promises made to the students, families and staff of CDCH and asks it to “honor their commitment to partner with CDCH.”

“CDCH is a unique and wonderful school with a caring, inclusive environment that fosters not just academic learning but compassion and acceptance of others,” Ms. Eggers wrote. “CDCH has played a vital role in the lives of many students and their families, past and present, and we know that with the partnership of the Gersh Academy, CDCH can continue to do so. We ask that the Gersh Academy does not turn its back on our school and our children. CDCH is the ONLY charter school on the East End and as our local schools become more overcrowded the need for CDCH will only grow.”

Most of the signatures on the petition are from parents and CDCH staff who are mourning the loss of the institution.

“This charter school has been a safe haven for students and families of all East End districts. We serve students and families who want a smaller, loving, and inclusive learning environment,” wrote Andrea Mondell-Patrick of Sag Harbor, a teacher at the CDCH for six years.

“Upon learning of this decision, my second grade students have cried and begged me to keep CDCH open,” she continued. “Students, families, and staff are grieving this terrible loss. Closing CDCH is only doing a disservice to students who need a little bit more than their districts can provide.”

Andy Robles, a representative from CDCH, said the school has no further response about its closure.

"We stand behind our statement and are moving forward to make this transition as easy as possible for the children and their families," he wrote in an email.

A board meeting at the school scheduled for Monday, May 26 was postponed until June 1.

Representatives of Gersh management did not respond to a request for comment.

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This school was a life saver for my son. There is NO OTHER school like this on the island, this is very upsetting. Every child should have the opportunity to thrive as my child did at CDCH. My son traveled on a bus both ways was over four hours and it didn't bother him because he loved his teachers and was comfortable there. Best teachers, he ever had came from CDCH.
By PattyLecausi (1), on May 13, 16 6:33 PM
2 members liked this comment
$350,000 seems like a relatively small amount compared to some of the grants given to public schools to facilitate budgetary short falls, especially considering the number of districts this school serves. I hope they have looked to the State and Feds for assistance...and everyone else on the East End as well. To throw in the towel on these children and families that travel great distances to find this kind of high quality inclusive education is truly sad.
By littleones (23), Remsenburg on May 13, 16 7:18 PM
1 member liked this comment
four hours ?!?!!! what did he do for four hours?!? homework?!?
By xtiego (697), bridgehampton on May 13, 16 7:29 PM
Could use a much more in depth article here.
- Why exactly is the school closing?
- Who ran the school before Gersh decided to take over?
- Why doesn't the school go back to the former managers?
- Who has been running the school in the interim while waiting for Gersh?
- Does CDCH have money issues?
- If so what are the people who want to keep it open doing about it?
- Etc, etc, etc...
By bird (794), Sag Harbor on May 14, 16 6:25 PM
Please refer to our previous coverage, this article is a follow up:

http://www.27east.com/news/article.cfm/General-Interest-EH/479188/Childhood-Development-Center-Of-The-Hamptons-To-Close-At-The-End-Of-The-School-Year

http://www.27east.com/news/article.cfm/General-Interest-EH/471410/New-Company-To-Take-Over-Management-Of-Child-Development-Center-Of-The-Hamptons
By JaimeZ (5), southampton on May 16, 16 10:41 AM
Thank you Jamie for the links which I have now read. Also read an earlier Press article, http://www.27east.com/news/article.cfm/General-Interest-EH/23912/Comptroller-CDCH-Needs-To-Better-Monitor-Its-Financial-Management, which had the state's comptrollers office suggesting the school was headed for a potential financial problem if they didn't do a better job of managing their finances. So what happened?
- If this school is such a great resource why is it being allowed to fail?
- What is ...more
By bird (794), Sag Harbor on May 16, 16 11:28 AM
Glad I could help!

And you're absolutely right. Those are important questions that should be addressed. I will take note and look into them. Thank you for the feedback, it's always appreciated.
By JaimeZ (5), southampton on May 16, 16 1:51 PM
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