Brooklyn parents face possible pre-K nightmare after ACS fails to act

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

BROOKLYN (PIX11) - Could your child's pre-K school be sold?  It's happening to parents in one Brooklyn neighborhood.  Now they're scrambling to find new schools for their children.

4-year-old Cameron Boone loves going to school at Bushwick United Learning Center for some obvious reasons.

"Because I like to read, play, and write," said Boone.

The pre-schooler says learning is fun when you're with your friends. And Cameron has a lot of friends in his class, "So much friends."

But Cameron and the rest of the three- and four-year-olds in the group may soon have to make new friends at new schools.

That's because the owner of the Williamsburg building, which houses the daycare and pre-school program, is selling the property.

So the students have to be out by the end of the year.

Lavonne McLamb sent her oldest daughter to the school and planned to send her youngest there next year.

Now she's scrambling to find other options while she fights to keep the center open.

"I got emotional," said McLamb.  "I broke down in tears because where am I supposed to take my little daughter now?"

So far about half of the 106 students have found other pre-K programs and public schools.  But with limited space and few affordable daycare options many parents are still searching.

"For a family worker, we have to find space for these children.  Not having a place to tell them to go to is hard for us," said Rosalie Lopez with the Bushwick United Learning Center.

But this isn't just another story about a greedy landlord wanting to capitalize on Williamsburg's hot real estate market.

In fact, the owner hasn't raised the rent on the lease in years and even offered to sell the building to the Administration for Children's Services two years ago for a million dollars less than his current deal with another buyer.

"ACS had a chance to buy this building and didn't do so, and didn't let us know what was going on until the very end," said McLamb.  "They should have had the parents involved from the beginning."

Councilman Antonio Reynoso says if the Bushwick United Learning Center could be sold out from underneath students in the middle of the school year, then it could happen at other schools throughout the city.

"Just because it's too expensive doesn't mean that we can't make the investment," said Reynoso.  "And that's what I'm hoping to get out of the mayor soon."

For it's part, ACS says it's working with other agencies to ensure the children have quality care and education.

But forget about trying to explain red-tape to Cameron.  He's just learning about the color red.  And he says he wants to continue learning at Bushwick United.

"I love my teachers and I want to stay in my school."

So he hopes the adults can figure it out.