LOCAL PARENT BOARD FIGHTS RENT-FREE CHARTER SCHOOLS, OPPOSES PLAN FOR ANOTHER CO-LOCATION

The Success Academy charter school network is attempting to co-locate another school in District 3, the school district that includes the Upper West Side. It’s part of an apparent last-minute push by the Bloomberg administration to add dozens more charters before the new mayor is elected. Success Academy, run by political lightning rod Eva Moskowitz, raised hackles when it opened Upper West Success in the Brandeis School on 84th street over wide community opposition (and a lawsuit) in 2011. Success has already co-located schools in six of District 3’s 20 schools.

The new Success Academy school would be located at PS 149 at 41 West 117th street, known as the Sojourner Truth School. Success already has some students there, but this would move students from the Success Academy Harlem 4 into the school on a permanent basis. Some students with special needs that are currently in the school will likely be moved into new schools specifically for kids with special needs, according to local education activist Noah Gotbaum, who has opposed the Success Academy proposals. He tells us: “DOE now proposes to co-locate Harlem Success Academy 4 middle school in the building, with an additional 350 students and cut 25% of 811 sections (about 20-30 kids) moving them to a new building to be designated somewhere in lower Manhattan.  The new co-location will end up raising capacity in the 149 building from current 90+% to 130%. According to the DOE, capacity and enrollment at the Mickey Mantle campus on West End Avenue won’t be affected, but personally I think that’s a pipe dream as they have broken almost every promise they’ve made regarding previous co-locations.”

A hearing on the newest proposal is set for Thursday night at 6 p.m. at 34 West 118th street (M149) and there will be a press conference at 41 West 117th street at 5:15. Signup for public comments starts at 5:30 and ends 15 after the start of the hearing. A Department of Education description of the proposal is here.

Charter opponents say that co-location tends to hurt students in local public schools because it takes away space from neighborhood schools. The traditional public schools tend to educate more children with disabilities and those still learning English; because of the space crunch, kids with disabilities sometimes have receive services in hallways or closets, local parents say. Charter proponents say that their schools are essential to give parents more choices, and if they can’t co-locate they’ll have to cut seats.

Community Educational Council 3, the parent group that represents students on the UWS, issued a resolution calling for a moratorium on charter co-locations and for charters that are already co-located to pay rent. We have posted the text of the proposal below. A charter network made up of large charter networks like Success Academy protested the rent issue on Tuesday, holding a march to City Hall (many independent charter schools did not march, because of disagreements with the larger politically connected charter networks). Moskowitz closed the Success schools for the day so students and parents could march. Bill de Blasio has said he would charge rent to the wealthiest charter schools (those with the most private money) that are co-locating in city buildings if he becomes mayor.

Success Academy did not respond directly to the CEC3 proposal when we wrote to them, but a spokesman referred us to a press release from a group fighting the plans. It said, in part: “The proposals – a moratorium on co-location and charging public schools rent for space in public school buildings – limit school options for families that need them most. A moratorium would eliminate more than 15,000 new charter seats annually, and a rent charge—which district schools do not pay—would force charters to turn away 50,000 families on their combined waitlist.”

Approved CEC3 Resolution Vol. 13 No.8 Opposing the Authorization of Charters to Colocate

NEWS, SCHOOLS | 11 comments | permalink
    1. John Gibson says:

      –snip–
      Charter opponents say that co-location tends to hurt students in local public schools because it takes away space from neighborhood schools.
      –snip–

      This is nonsense. Charter opponents don’t like charter schools because those schools perform much better making the public schools look bad.

      • a says:

        Of course it only seems charter schools seem to ne doing better because they choose the students who attend. Which is usually only the too tier students.

    2. J. Amory says:

      Apparently parents far prefer the charter schools if they can get a place. That tells me they are doing better for their students than the local public schools. I therefore think charter schools should expand as much as possible. I think people like Noah Gotbaum are willing to sacrifice children for the sake of their ideology.

    3. Scooter Stan says:

      Re: “Moskowitz closed the Success schools for the day so students and parents could march.”

      Sometimes one little sentence speaks volumes, eh! Ms. Moskowitz is so-o-o-o interested in educating students that she will deny them a day of learning in order to become pawns supporting her PRIVATE iinitiatives!

      Re: “because those schools perform much better making the public schools look bad.”

      As far as can be determined, Charter schools IN NO WAY out-perform public schools; there are NO definitive data to support this claim.

      As far as co-location, it CAUSES PROBLEMS. Case in point: there are TWO very, very good NYC PUBLIC schools : Isaac Newton Intermediate and Manhattan Center for Science and Mathematics jammed into what was once Benjamin Franklin H.S. on E. 116th @ Pleasant Avenue.

      Each is excellent, but each is limited in its offerings because there is just NOT enough space to accommodate both.

      • Parker says:

        The Stanford University study concluded that charters, nationally, do not perform better than district schools. With the exception of New York City, which do outperform district schools.

        From the NYT:

        “For the second time in three years, a rigorous study by Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes shows that the typical New York City charter school student learns more in a year in reading and math than his or her peers in their neighborhood district schools. The difference, over a typical year, amounts to about a month’s more learning in reading — and a whopping five months’ more learning in math.”

        http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/23/opinion/better-charter-schools-in-new-york-city.html?_r=0

        • NYMS says:

          It seems it me that if a the average school year is 9-10 months long, than an extra 5 months worth of math is about 50% more, no? That’s pretty significant, especially even over the 5-6 years of grade school.

    4. CCC says:

      Correct me if I’m wrong but public schools aren’t financed locally so the buildings are NYC property. Charter schools are just a public school managed differently (board of directors are all non-profits), getting less public money per student than public schools- why shouldn’t they have equal access to buildings? And all groups in the same building should bear the same cost- charter schools should not have to pay for a city building if the legacy school is not paying.

      • Wyatt says:

        You are not wrong.

        Clearly the public schools are not working. Why not allow public charter schools to continue to grow and flourish.

        We should look for what is in the best interest of the children. And that means NOT the status quo.

        Sadly, our politicians still answer to the self interests of the Teachers’ Union.

    5. Noah Gotbaum says:

      First off, it’s time to put to bed the myth that NYC charters get less money than public schools. The IBO showed that co-located charters receive $600 more per pupil funding than public schools, as of 2008/2009 and according to them the funding disparity in favor of charters has only increased since then http://ibo.nyc.ny.us/cgi-park/?p=272 And this doesn’t include private money flowing to the charters – of which Success Charter has some $40 million on account. Rent payments, as mandated by law, are just a drop in the bucket but should begin to balance the equation.

      2nd: This Success Charter co-location at PS149 and Mickey Mantle is a prime example of how charter co-locations are undermining our public schools and receiving more favorable treatment. To make room for Success charter middle schoolers, the Mickey Mantle school – which serves severely autistic and emotionally disturbed children – is being decimated. 1/4-1/3 of these children are being banished from their own building, probably to end up somewhere in lower Manhattan or get their seats cut altogether. And as capacity in the building rises from 90% to 130%, the remaining children and those at PS149, will suffer disproportionately. Apart from breaking up their school, the massive overcrowding spawned by the charter co-location leads to sensory overload and massive daily disruptions for these vulnerable kids. Worse, since the DOE doesn’t see fit to include special needs therapy rooms in their “capacity” calculations, the Mickey Mantle kids will be lucky to receive required counseling, speech, and occupational therapy services in hallways, bathrooms and closets, if they receive them at all.

      Why is the DOE doing this? Why are they destroying a great school “choice” – really the only one – for these most vulnerable children, rather than simply moving Success Charter into one of the many other buildings in Northern Manhattan which they claim has ample capacity? We asked that question last night – but the DOE refused to answer it. Nor will they do so on Tuesday night when this absurd plan is rubberstamped by the PEP. Hopefully, come January 1 we will have a Mayor and a DOE that will work to create and sustain great schools for ALL of our kids, including the most vulnerable and the 96% in our public schools, and stop focusing solely on the 4% in charters.

      • James Martin says:

        To be fair, it’s somewhat disingenuous to criticize a charter school organization’s ability to raise private funding without noting the astronomical sums many Upper West Side’s PTAs contribute annually to supplement DOE funding. Private funding is private funding, public or charter.