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Queens Chronicle

Parents not thrilled with Success MS site

City offers former Catholic school in South Ozone Park; charter checking

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Posted: Thursday, November 21, 2019 10:30 am | Updated: 12:34 pm, Wed Nov 27, 2019.

The de Blasio administration lived up to the letter of the law last week, announcing that it has designated space in South Ozone Park that the Success Academy charter school program can use as a Queens middle school beginning next September.

The announcement, made prior to Mayor de Blasio’s town hall meeting in Jamaica on Nov. 13, would appear to end a two-year dispute, allowing more than 200 Success fourth-graders to stay within the charter’s system next year after they graduate in June.

But several Success parents who attended the town hall believe the administration is acting in bad faith, choosing the old Our Lady’s Catholic Academy rather than larger, more conveniently located — and unused — space in existing public school buildings in the Department of Education’s Queens inventory.

While the mayor and Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza have been hostile toward charters — de Blasio and Success founder Eva Moskowitz have a particularly antagonistic relationship — state law requires the city to give space to all approved charter schools or to provide funding for rent.

Deputy Schools Chancellor Karin Goldmark, upon de Blasio being questioned by a Success parent at the meeting, said the city considers the site to be suitable for Success’ needs. Ann Powell, a spokeswoman for Success, told the Chronicle in an email that the charter is reserving judgement.

“While there are many public school buildings with space available which would be far closer to our families, we intend to examine this option in good faith to see whether it can meet the needs of our families,” Powell said.

Success officials and parents had accused de Blasio of trying to hold off as long as possible. They repeatedly expressed concern that de Blasio and Carranza were deliberately attempting to force their children back into district middle schools for lack of space, allegations repeatedly denied by the mayor and the chancellor.

Parents told the Chronicle prior to the town hall meeting that the building would be good for no more than two years, and that it is too far away from other Success schools for those who must bring children to two different buildings each morning.

“This is only a temporary building; we’ll outgrow this in two years,” said parent Sandrine Campbell of Springfield Gardens.

Other parents said closer, more conveniently located schools have space to accommodate far more students.

Goldmark said the DOE considers the building to be a permanent site.

Another parent said the timeline of two years holds another mark of significance — specifically, when term limits remove de Blasio from office.

“We’ll just have to negotiate with a new mayor,” she said.

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