Monday, March 14, 2011
A Manhattan mom is suing a $19,000-a-year preschool, claiming it jeopardized her daughter's chances of getting into an elite private school because she had to slum with younger kids.
Nicole Imprescia yanked 4-year-old Lucia from the York Avenue Preschool last fall, angry the tyke was stuck learning about shapes and colors with tots half her age - when she should have been prepping for a standardized test.
"This is about a theft where a business advertises as one thing and is actually another," said Mathew Paulose, a lawyer for the mom.
"They're nabbing $19,000 and making a run for it."
Impressed by the school's pledge to ready its young students for the ERB - a test used for admission at top private elementary schools - Imprescia enrolled her daughter at York in 2009.
A month into this school year, she transferred the child out of the upper East Side center because she had been lumped in with 2-year-olds.
"Indeed, the school proved not to be a school at all, but just one big playroom," the suit says.
Imprescia's court papers suggest the school may have damaged Lucia's chances of getting into a top college, citing an article that identifies preschools as the first step to "the Ivy League."
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York's owner, Michael Branciforte, declined comment on the suit, which seeks a refund and class action-status on behalf of similarly wronged toddlers.
On its website, York Avenue Preschool touts its music and physical education programs, weekly library trips and French classes for four-year-olds.
"Our goal is to reach each child and work with them towards their 'next steps,'" the site says.
Its claim of offering age-specific learning environments is a "complete fraud," Imprescia charged.
Sounds like Imprescia is seeking rescission of the contract based upon fraud. If there is no fraud or misrepresentation, query whether the preschool is even in breach (what is an "age-specific learning environment"?). If the school is in breach, the story provides a nice example of the limitations on contract damages. Imprescia might get a refund for the remainder of the year, but she's not going to be compensated for her 4-year-old daughter's lost chance at admission to Harvard.... and all the attendant shame and suffering.
[Meredith R. Miller]