New York City Schools Chancellor David Banks said Monday that the city will cancel proposals that would have co-located three Success Academy schools in public school buildings.
The banks said that The Ministry of Education rejected the idea to place two new charter schools in Queens and one new charter school in the Bronx after community backlash.
The city’s senior school official said the decision came after complaints from community members that the proposals “would create significant challenges for new schools and existing co-ed schools”.
Banks’ statement comes a day before the Education Policy Committee’s scheduled vote on the two Queens schools, according to NY1.
One of the proposals would have placed a Success Academy elementary school in the Catherine and Count Basie Middle School 72 building, which has two middle and special education campuses in Rochdale Village.
Queens’ other charter elementary school would have been placed at the Springfield Gardens Education Campus, which houses several high schools.
The failed proposal that would have placed a Success Academy elementary school in a Bronx school building was supposed to be discussed Wednesday, NY1 reported.
Co-housing of the trio of charter schools was strongly opposed by the United Federation of Teachers.
Some parents and teachers also voiced opposition to the plan with the two sides arguing over whether the space is really there to accommodate more students.
“We can’t force extra students into a building where there isn’t room and then condemn New York City schools for failure,” said Adriana Alicea, president of the District 28 President’s Council of one of the Queens proposals, according to Chalkbeat New York. “There is no room for children to succeed. There is no room for them to grow.”
Success Academy did not immediately return an email and phone call Monday night.
But a spokeswoman for the charter school system, Ann Powell, told Chalkbeat, “Our schools are extremely popular in Queens.” Powell also said 500 families in part of the Bronx must “travel significant distances to attend other Success Academies.
Success Academy Founder and CEO Eva Moskowitz previously told NY1 that concerns about space in the buildings were nothing more than scare tactics.
“Co-housing is such an important public policy,” Moscovici was quoted as saying. “This is of course about Success, but it is also about politics. Do we really want a city where you leave 40% of the seats empty? These buildings were expensive to build.”
Charter schools are legally allowed to vacate space in Department of Education buildings and have been doing so for years.
Banks, in his statement on Monday, pledged to work with Success Academies “to find suitable facilities for their new schools”.