Gowanus Lounge: Serving Brooklyn

Slopers Still Raging About/Trying to Save Child Care Center

November 16th, 2008 · 9 Comments

One of the hottest with our friends at Park Slope Parents is still the Berkeley Carrol School’s decision to close its (money making) child care center. (Mind you, the tuition is over $20K a year.) There is a group organizing to try to save a center that can be contacted at savebccc (at) gmail (dot) com. Nonetheless, there is intense rage in the community among parents whose children were attending the school and among those pissed off at the shabby treatment that the center’s staff is getting. Nothing like some righteous anger on a Sunday morning so we’re going to do some sampling of emails we’ve seen, starting with this:

My wife spoke to Beansprouts this week. They promised that they will be open will be open in the 2010-2011 year. They said they would tell us if they had any intention of closing. I am still amazed that anyone still believes that Berkeley Carroll didn’t know they were closing in 2009 way back in 2006. Does anyone believe that that couldn’t hold out till 2011? Methodist said it was possible. The headmaster at BC said the center was operating in the black.

I am angry everyday. Even more so at how they made my wife cry with their deceit. I have honestly had better customer service at the bagel store. The bagel store doesn’t brag about their HONOR CODE or community service on its website. They don’t tell you that they had no obligation to disclose their five year plan. When BC talks about how they shouldn’t be in the daycare business, it is an insult to the respected educators who thought it a great idea in 1999. How will local history look the current Headmaster or Board members. Google
Berkeley Carroll Grossman.

Some parents are apparently trying to organize their own alternative to the elite school’s closure of the center:

Several parents are trying to organize a co-op and keep the teachers on and our kids together. There is one big obstacle – physical space and a secondary obstacle, – licensing. The laws are restrictive, so we need to stay in our current space while we either find another non-profit to run the center or find a suitable space to retrofit to form a parent’s collective. To get a suitable new space is going to be challenging in the time we have – a one year extension on the program would help us make this transition possible.

In terms of tuition – there are different fees depending on age and frequency – we go part time, so I think we pay more on an hourly basis. But, I believe that the full time annual tuition is in the neighborhood of $24K, which sounds like a lot!!! But, if you look at the program – it’s a full year (52 weeks), not a school year and it’s 11 hours a day (7:30 – 6:30). I think nannies in this neighborhood are like $14/15/hour, which if you compare apples to apples, is $40,040 ($14/hr) a year (11 hour dayx52 weeks)!!!! So, yes, it is much more affordable than many other options and you have the peace of mind of knowing that the women (and yes they are all women) who are caring for your child are legally employed and being taken care of with benefits, social security, etc.

I just want to add my plea for your support — our friends and neighbors in this wonderful and dynamic community. This program is worth saving – in whatever form we can save it in. It’s been in the communityfor decades – some of the teachers have been there for over 20 years, which is almost unheard of in this industry and a testament to the program’s value and worth. It is a truly wonderful program. We need your help desperately.

-If you know an organization who might be willing to take over the program, get them in touch with us.

-If you can help us convince BC and Methodist to help our group of parents make a transition happen over the next year by being accommodating with the physical space for just a few more months, please make that call.

-If you have suitable space you can lend or lease to help us keep this program alive, please offer it to us.

-If you want to help start a Park Slope Community collective, please volunteer.

-If you just want to publicly post on this list and say “YES! We support you!” please do!!! We need all the encouragement and support we can get!

I really believe we can save this center. Please help. You can get involved with us via savebcccc @ gmail.com

We will leave you with this interesting bit of background from another email:

Our older daughter went to the childcare center that later became the Berkeley Carroll Childcare Center. Back then it was called MHB Childcare and it was run by Methodist Hospital. The hospital originaly set it up as an affordable option for it’s staff, who paid a discounted rate. But there were some empty slots for neighborhood children as well. I did not work for Methodist Hospital nor did my husband, so we paid the full cost. Back then, it was less than half what Berkeley Carroll is charging at the moment (the NY Times reports that the current tuition $24,000 for full time students.) This means there has been an increase of about 200 percent! While this was 10 years ago, the cost of living has NOT gone up a commenserate amount! Back then, MHB Childcare was indeed one of the more affordable childcare options (not to mention a wonderful environment for young children.)

Something tells us that Berkeley Carroll is one of those institutions impervious to bad PR, but it’s always interesting to relate some it.

Tags: Park Slope · Uncategorized

9 responses so far ↓

  • 1 EC // Nov 16, 2008 at 2:12 pm

    “Back then, it was less than half what Berkeley Carroll is charging at the moment … This means there has been an increase of about 200 percent!”

    No, no I don’t think so.

  • 2 B Gac // Nov 16, 2008 at 7:25 pm

    Math aside, the profit $$ were going into the coffers of Berkeley Carroll. Nevertheless, it seems the Center is more trouble than it is worth.

    Until the years 2007-2008, most of the 3rd floor Child Care Center children who applied were able to get into the Berkeley Carroll Lower School Pre-K program (probably 90%).

    Suddenly, last year – Berkeley Carroll wanted to send a signal and/or make a statement by rejecting at least half of the Child Care Center applicants.

    The clear signal was – the first come/first serve unfiltered masses getting into BC through the Child Care Center was going to be stopped from filling a full Pre-K classroom.

    After all, BC now had enough applicants to pick and choose for wealthy annual-fund flooding families and trust fund babies. Why let anyone just come through BC’s doors when there was plenty more money to be had?

    It was a clear statement: although the School could brag about what they were doing to serve the community, solicit donations from the Center, and pretend it was one big happy family – the message was: you are not part of Berkeley Carroll and don’t think, that even if you funded and donated to the School – it was get you through the front door of BC proper.

    Sad, but true. BC couldn’t care less about the Center. Actions speak louder than words.

  • 3 neighbor // Nov 16, 2008 at 10:48 pm

    Fairly certain that the dearth of pre-K spots at BC was due to sibling policy. In other words, siblings of existing older BC students get to go first in line.
    This was true in other Bklyn private schools last year as well, and given demographics, is likely to continue to be true.

  • 4 Dada // Nov 16, 2008 at 11:31 pm

    B Gac, please give more info on your thoughts when you can. Berkeley Carroll was careful not to put anything in writing when respondng or ignoring parents. What a bunch of lawyer pussies.

  • 5 wisco // Nov 16, 2008 at 11:58 pm

    well, you don’t have a kid if you think that over $20K per year is a lot for child care. an inexpensive nanny is $12 an hour, so do the math.
    unfortunately for parkslope, there’s a lot of kids, but not a lot of daycares. these people would probably have to find something near their offices in manhattan which would mean hauling small children on the subway everyday, and 40 minutes on a train there and back is not picnic with a little one. and, anyway, daycare in the city is the same price.

  • 6 psper // Nov 17, 2008 at 7:09 am

    And to put things in perspective. BC’s annual fund and endowment are tiny fractions of Poly’s, St. Ann’s and Packers. This is not a rich institution by industry standards, reputation aside.

  • 7 Don_Draper Quits Twitter, Comes Clean - City Room Blog - NYTimes.com // Nov 17, 2008 at 12:22 pm

    […] put baby in a corner. Park Slope Parents are fighting to save the $20,000-a-year Berkeley Carroll School’s child care center. [Gowanus […]

  • 8 Lifer // Nov 17, 2008 at 6:47 pm

    What a bunch of whiners…..a business can choose to close, get over it and hire an underpaid nany….

  • 9 roby // Nov 17, 2008 at 9:16 pm

    Don’t you have anything else to write about, besides lifting posts from parkslopeparents?