Schools Chancellor to Hold Town Hall on Lower East Side

Dennis Walcott, the new chancellor of New York’s public schools, is coming to the Lower East Side. He’s holding a town hall meeting June 14th at P.S. 20, 166 Essex Street.

According to an email from Community District 1’s Community Education Council, Walcott will “discuss student achievement, school finances and our city’s educational goals and priorities.” He’ll also take questions from parents and other audience members.

The town hall begins at 6 p.m. Translation services will be available.

Chin Opposes Schools Chancellor Pick – Writes Letter to State Commissioner

Several members of the City Council are introducing a resolution calling on the state education commissioner to block Mayor Bloomberg’s choice for schools chancellor. District 1 City Councilmember Margaret Chin is among them. She has also sent a letter to David Steiner, the commissioner, explaining why she believes granting Cathie Black a waiver would be wrong. See the full text after the jump:

Education Department Confirms Girls Prep Reversal

More on the Girls Prep situation/saga. The New York Times now has confirmation from the Department of Education that the LES charter school is delaying the first day of school, originally scheduled for this coming Monday.  As we reported earlier today, Chancellor Joel Klein has decided against using his “emergency powers” to get around a state ruling blocking the DOE’s expansion plan. Excerpts from Jennifer Medina’s story, posted on the Times’ web site a short time ago:

…a spokeswoman for Mr. Klein said Friday that the city was reversing course and would search for another space for the charter school, pushing back the first day of school for the 125 Girls Prep students by as much as a month. The chancellor’s decision to use emergency powers provoked outrage from many parents and elected officials, including State Senator Daniel Squadron, who has been a reliable supporter of Mr. Klein’s…

Breaking: Girls Prep Deal Delays Monday Classes

It appears there’s a deal in the works to resolve the long-running dispute surrounding the expansion of the Girls Prep Charter School on East Houston Street.  As we’ve been reporting, the Department Education had intended to go ahead with a controversial plan to allow the school to take over more space in its current location. This — in spite of a ruling from the state education commissioner that found the DOE failed to consider the impact on P.S. 94, one of two schools sharing space with Girls Prep.  Commissioner David Steiner invalidated the plan and ordered the DOE to conduct a new “Educational Impact” assessment.

But now, the DOE seems to have decided to delay the start of classes — which were supposed to begin Monday — and to possibly find an alternate location for 100 students enrolled in the Girls Prep Charter School this fall.  Lisa Donlan, president of District 1’s Community Education Council, told us it’s a one-week delay.

We have emails/calls into the Department of Education, the Borough President’s office, Girls Prep and Advocates for Children (the organization that filed the state complaint). We’ll let you know when we have more details.

Girls Prep Ruling: the DOE Responds

We’ve just heard from the Department of Education about the Girls Prep situation. State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver released a statement earlier today saying the DOE’s decision to implement an expansion plan for the charter school — in spite of a state order blocking it — amounts to a “breathtaking end run around both the law’s requirements and the right(s) of parents…”

State Blocks Girls Prep Expansion

Protest on the steps of City Hall in March.

The state education commissioner is blocking a decision by New York City’s Department of Education (DOE) to allow the Girls Prep Charter School to expand its middle school in a shared building on East Houston Street.  Several Lower East Side parents and an organization called Advocates for Children filed a complaint against the DOE in the spring. This week, New York State Education Commissioner David Steiner issued his decision.

Op/Ed: Make Schools a Priority in SPURA Plan

SPURA

The ongoing debate about the future of the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area revolves around the issue of affordable vs. market rate housing.  But during Community Board 3’s deliberations, other topics., such as the need for new schools and cultural facilities, have been raised, if only briefly. According to John Shapiro (a consultant hired by the city to work with CB3), the Department of Education doesn’t believe a new school should be a priority in the SPURA development plan.  Today, we have another perspective on the subject. The following Op/Ed was submitted to The Lo-Down by the Community Education Council of District 1: