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Queens Chronicle

Charters’ number, influence growing

Four more coming to Queens in 2016; opponents lose in courts, state capital

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Posted: Thursday, September 10, 2015 10:30 am

From outside IS 59 in Springfield Gardens, one might not realize that a Success Academy charter school is inside, if not for a small orange sign affixed above the main entrance.

But the small sign belies the large and growing influence that charters are having on the educational picture in Queens.

There were 14 Queens charters listed on the Department of Education’s website for last school year, with New Visions Charter High School for Advanced Math and Science opening in the August Martin High School building in Jamaica this year.

But four are scheduled to open next year in Queens, all operated by Success Academy, which was founded by former City Councilwoman and Bill de Blasio nemesis Eva Moskowitz.

Success Academy alone already has 34 schools spread over all boroughs but Staten Island.

New York City currently has 207 charters in operation, with 22 more — including the Success schools in Queens — being approved for future start-up. There are 50 more slots that have been approved by the Legislature under an existing cap of 279.

During public hearings on the charters in IS 59 and August Martin, parents and politicians were vociferously opposed, with most saying they disapprove not to charter schools in principle, but to their co-location in existing schools and the potential to drain limited building space resources.

But at least some co-location appears to inevitable. De Blasio, who as a candidate pilloried former Mayor Mike Bloomberg for co-locations, has had at least at much trouble in the courts and in Albany as with Moskowitz.

A court has ordered that the city must find space for approved charters, which are, in fact, New York City public schools.

The mayor also has been outmaneuvered by the Cuomo administration on seemingly all things education. And the state Legislature, led by the Republican-controlled Senate this past year, extended mayoral control of city schools for a single year, all while constantly using the cap on charters as both a tool and a weapon during budget negotiations.

During a sit-down last week with the editorial board of the Queens Chronicle, Moskowitz said that they still are waiting on word from the city on the four sites that they will use next year [see separate story].

One Success Academy school apiece is slated to open in community districts 24, 27, 28 and 30. The other one already operating is in Rosedale.

District 24 already has the Central Queens Academy and the Middle Village Prep Charter School, both middle schools.

District 27 has the Challenge Preparatory elementary/middle school and the Peninsula Preparatory Academy elementary school, both in the Rockaways. District 28 has the Rochdale Early Advantage elementary school.

District 30 already hosts five schools ranging from Woodside to Queensbridge, including the Academy of the City elementary school; the Growing Up Green elementary and middle schools; the Our World Neighborhood Charter School; The Renaissance Charter school with elementary, middle and high school grades; and the VOICE Charter School of New York.

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