Parents, students and staff from Success Academy charter schools came out in force Thursday to demand space for a new middle school.
The protesters, clad in bright orange, accused city officials of moving too slowly to find additional middle school space for Success Academy elementary schoolers in Queens who want to continue at the charter network in the upper grades.
“The mayor has a double standard when it comes to charter school parents,” said Eva Moskowitz, the CEO of Success Academy and long-time critic of Mayor de Blasio. “They are public school parents, and their children deserve a space to learn.”
Space disputes between de Blasio and Success Academy—the city’s largest charter network—have become a long-running and often bitter tradition.
Success officials say the city is slow-walking a commitment to provide a building for a new middle school by 2019. The network has four elementary schools in Queens and only one middle school. So far, the network’s Queens elementary graduates have all gone to the one existing middle school, but Success staff says the school is already overcrowded and only getting worse.
The city Education Department says it’s following its normal timeline for allocating space and that even if it can’t find a building for the new middle school, Success can find private space and get reimbursed under a state rental assistance law.
But that would only cover about 30% of rental costs.
Success points to multiple public school buildings in the area with hundreds fewer students than their capacity, where the new middle school might co-locate. But in an interview on NY1 on Wednesday, schools Chancellor Richard Carranza said the city would have to talk to do more community outreach before making any final decisions on school placements.