NYC fails to provide enough space for middle schoolers


Success Academy claims 250 southeast Queens students are without a home next year after the city blew past a critical placement deadline.

In the latest skirmish with City Hall over space provision, Success Academy contends that Mayor Bill de Blasio has spitefully declined to provide the rising middle schoolers with seats for the upcoming academic year.

“Mayor de Blasio missed another critical deadline on Friday — effectively kicking 250 public charter school students out on the street,” the network said in a statement.

Success officials said they had to submit paperwork for a new site by this past Friday — and that their families are now in educational limbo.

The network holds that the city is legally obligated to provide its students — who are considered public school kids — with space.

“By state law, the Mayor is obligated to offer at no cost to charter schools a co-location site in a building approved by the Panel for Education Policy or to secure a private facility at no expense to the public charter school,” officials said.

Students from two Success Academy charter schools gathered on the steps of City Hall to demand a middle school be created in Queens for them.
Mayor Bill de Blasio’s missed deadline would displace mostly low-income charter school students.
Gregory P. Mango

City Hall counters that the onus is on the network to secure seats.

“Success have had years to develop a viable, fiscally responsible long-term plan for their school community and over 100 other Charter organizations have been able to follow this process without issue — there is no reason why they cannot do the same,” said DOE spokeswoman Katie O’Hanlon.

Success Academy said Monday that there are several public school buildings in southeast Queens that have ample space to house the mostly low-income kids from places like Hollis and Springfield Gardens.

Arguing that they need a modest four classrooms to operate, they want the city to either extend their stay at their existing co-location in Hollis or provide an alternative.

Success Academy Hollis Middle School in Queens, New York.
Success Academy argues the city is legally obligated to provide its students with space.
Google Maps

The city reiterated Monday that the current facility is needed for special needs kids next year and that the charter cannot remain.

Success Academy, which trumpets lengthy waiting lists and high academic metrics, asserts that the city’s animus towards independently run charters is fueling this latest standoff.

Charter backers assert that low-income families faced with grim public schooling options should have an opportunity to exercise the same school choice as more affluent New Yorkers.

Sector opponents assert that they push out problematic students and that their funding should go to traditional public schools.


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