Child Development Center to Close

The Child Development Center of the Hamptons in Wainscott, the South Fork's only charter school, will close next month. Christine Sampson

The Child Development Center of the Hamptons in Wainscott will close at the end of this school year, a school representative said Monday.

The Gersh Academy, a group of schools and programs for children and young adults with autism, was in talks to take over the school as of early February. Gersh confirmed Monday that it would no longer do so.

Its talks with C.D.C.H. earlier this year followed at least one financially challenging year for C.D.C.H. that saw the South Fork's only charter school lose about $350,000. School officials cited significantly declining enrollment as one factor that led to the losses.

But in a statement Monday, the Gersh Academy said, "After extensive review and having identified a number of factors beyond our control, all parties involved mutually agreed not to proceed with the transfer of management. We, like many parents, are tremendously disappointed in this outcome and assure the public that best efforts were made in our attempt to successfully complete this endeavor."

C.D.C.H., which is managed by the nonprofit organization Family Residences and Essential Enterprises, or FREE, could not immediately be reached for further comment Monday.

The school, which officially opened as a charter school in 2001 after first beginning in 1997 as a program for a small group of toddlers in the house of a local parent, educates children in both regular education and special education programs. It draws students from local school districts, with those districts paying tuition. Students may come from within 15 miles for the regular education program and 50 miles for the special education program.