New Charter School Hearing Tomorrow Evening

A notice from District 1’s Community Education Council:

Thursday February 17th, 2010
Located at Manhattan Charter School
100 Attorney Street

To hear community input on proposal to open a new charter school in lower Manhattan. The proposed charter school will serve grades K-5, have a target population similar to the population currently served by Manhattan Charter School where 80% of students qualify for free or reduced lunch and 18% are identified as special education. The proposed schools will have an enrollment of 72 students in a year one and 274 student’s full capacity. The proposed school will replicate the academic program on Manhattan Charter School and the mission of the proposed school will be the same.

* Comments may also be submitted via email or in writing to Manhattan Charter School II (Proposed), 100 Attorney Street, New York NY 10002

Ross Global Takes on Girls Prep in Latest Charter School Space Battle

Earlier this morning, we linked to a story in the New York Times recounting the rising tensions between Ross Global Academy (which is being closed due to poor performance) and the Girls Prep Middle School (which is in search of a new home).

The article, which explores the tussle between two Lower East Side charter schools, both backed by the “moneyed elite,” is a good read. But we don’t want to bury the lead.

The Times reports: “An internal Department of Education planning document indicates that the intermediate grades of Girls Prep, a single-sex school whose lower grades are located in a public school on East Houston Street, would indeed assume Ross Global Academy’s space by September.”

Tonight: Kindergarten Info Fair, Girls Prep’s Fate Discussed

A couple of important events for Lower East Side parents tonight. First, at 530pm there’s a Kindergarten and Pre-Kindegarten information fair at P.S. 20, the Anna Silver School.  This week, the Department of Education opened enrollment for the 2011-2012 academic year (the deadline to apply is March 4th). District 1, encompassing much of the LES, allows parents to enroll their kids in any school (so long as there’s space available).  This evening, representatives from the district’s schools will be on hand to help guide parents through the process.

Then at 630pm, District 1’s Community Education Council meets.  The big agenda item: the future of the Girls Prep Middle School. After an epic battle last year, the charter school found a temporary home near Cooper Square. There’s a possibility Girls Prep will be able to take over classrooms currently being occupied by Ross Global Academy, 420 East 12th Street. Recently, the DOE announced it was closing Ross, also a charter school, due to poor performance and other problems. There’s a hitch, however. Ross is pursuing legal action to stay open and is strenuously fighting the Girls Prep move.

P.S. 20 is located at 166 Essex Street. Again the Info Fair is at 5:30pm. The CEC meeting begins at 630. Both events are being held inside the school.

Ross Global Academy Charter Renewal Hearing Next Week

This coming Monday night, the Department of Education will be holding a charter renewal hearing for Ross Global Academy in the East Village. The meeting takes place at 630pm, at the school, 420 East 12th Street. Anyone who wants to speak should sign up between 6 and 630pm.  You can also send written comments to:
Ross Global Academy is seeking a five year renewal.

Girls Prep “Report Card” Score Drops

Parents spoke out about Girls Prep expansion plan at two public hearings last year.

For more than a year, we followed the saga surrounding Girls Prep, the charter school that fought to expand its middle school on the Lower East Side. Gotham Schools notes it’s one of two schools that performed particularly badly in the latest progress reports released by the NYC Department of Education:

Girls Prep Leases Private Space Near Cooper Square

It looks like the Girls Prep Charter School has found space for its middle school. Earlier this month, the Department of Education backed away from a plan to allow the school to expand in a building on East Houston Street. DOE Chancellor Joel Klein is out tonight with the following statement:

“I am delighted that the young women from Girls Prep will be attending the school their families chose. I want to thank the school’s Board for coming up with a creative solution under enormous time pressure, and
State Senator Squadron, Assemblymember Kavanagh and Councilmembers Mendez and Chin for assisting in the process. Our number one goal has been making sure all of our students have the space and resources they need, and while we’ve always had a plan that allowed Girls Prep to serve their students on-site without displacing one single child with special needs, placing Girls Prep Middle School in private space this year accomplishes this same goal. We remain committed to finding a permanent home for Girls Prep students moving forward.”

We’re told the school has leased private space at 51 Astor Place, overlooking Cooper Square.  For more than a year, parents from P.S. 188 and P.S. 94 (co-tenants of the Houston Street building) fought the Girls prep expansion plan. The threat of a lawsuit forced the DOE and Girls Prep to find an alternative.

Squadron, Chin, Mendez Sharply Criticize DOE Handling of Girls Prep Situation

We’ve already heard from Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer on the DOE’s handling of the Girls Prep situation. They strongly criticized Chancellor Joel Klein’s decision to allow the LES charter school to expand, in spite of a ruling from the state education commissioner blocking the plan.  Now State Senator Daniel Squadron, as well as Councilmembers Margaret Chin and Rosie Mendez are weighing in. First Squadron’s statement:

“I urge the Department of Education to heed Commissioner Steiner’s decision.  The new NYC school governance law is clear.  The ‘emergency exemption’ is not meant to be a loophole to drive a mack truck through.  There is a process in place for the state commissioner to determine whether parents have been meaningfully consulted, and the Department must adhere to it.”

Chin and Mendez have sent a letter to Chancellor Klein. You can see the full text of that letter after the jump.