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Official: Mill Neck special needs school has financial problems

An exterior view of the Mill Neck Manor

An exterior view of the Mill Neck Manor School for the Deaf on April 24, 2015. Credit: Newsday File / Audrey C. Tiernan

The top administrator for a Mill Neck private preschool serving special-needs children acknowledged Thursday that the school is suffering “multimillion dollar” losses but said “no decision has been made to close the program.”

In a statement, Michael F. Killian, president and chief executive officer of the Mill Neck Family of Organizations, acknowledged concerns of parents who said they had heard the Mill Neck Manor Early Childhood Center was in danger of closing and they were not getting any answers from the administration.

“During the past few days, you have seen and heard rumors about the future of the Early Childhood Center,” Killian said in a statement on the school’s website. “For the past twenty-five years, the staff in the ECC has done an exceptional job. However, the cost of the program has resulted in a multimillion dollar loss.”

Killian said he hopes that the teachers union will address the cost of staff compensation, which he said “is substantially above that of comparable schools and the significant primary reason for the program’s ongoing financial problems.”

A representative for the teachers union could not immediately be reached.

Parent Jonathan Knox, of Glen Head, who has an autistic 4-year-old daughter in the program, has been calling the school trying to get answers, he said Thursday. He told News 12 Long Island that he learned of the possible closure through a friend of a friend on Facebook.

“They haven’t told us anything for about a week,” Knox said. Reacting to Killian’s statement, Knox said: “He is using my 4-year-old as leverage and it is a disgrace.”

The school’s website noted that the Early Childhood Center, founded in 1991, provides early and intensive assistance to children, ages 3 and 4, who may have deficits in speech, language/communication, cognitive and gross and fine motor development.

Along with the center, the Mill Neck Family of Organizations also operates Mill Neck Manor School for the Deaf, founded by Lutheran Friends of the Deaf in 1947. Killian said the issue does not impact the School for the Deaf program.

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