Report: Girls Prep Expansion to Proceed in Spite of State Ruling

Gotham Schools is reporting tonight that the Department of Education plans to go ahead with the expansion of the Girls Prep Middle School, even though the state blocked it earlier this week. According to the report, Schools Chancellor Joel Klein will use a section of state law that permits the DOE to act unilaterally when it is, “immediately necessary for the preservation of student health, safety or general welfare.”

On Monday, State Education Commissioner David Steiner threw out the expansion plan, saying the DOE failed to properly consult with parents from P.S. 94, one of two schools sharing a building on East Houston Street with Girls Prep.  About 100 new middle school students are expected to enroll in the charter school this fall.

Advocates for Children filed a complaint with the state to block the DOE’s plan. They are waiting for a formal statement from the Education Department before responding fully. But the organization’s litigation director, Rebecca Shore, told Gotham Schools, “To me, it does not seem like an emergency, given that [city officials] knew about this problem and our concerns in March, and their failure to address those concerns is what’s given rise to the commissioner’s ruling.”