Parents at University Neighborhood High School Fight Charter Co-Location Plan

University Neighborhood High School, 1 Monroe St.

University Neighborhood High School, 1 Monroe St.

Lower East Side parents are mobilizing to stop a charter school from co-locating in a century-old building housing University Neighborhood High School.

The Department of Education is planning to move the City Charter School of the Arts (a middle school) into the building at 200 Monroe St. The charter, created last year, is losing its lease at 25 Pine St., where it shares space with a private school. If the city approves the co-location proposal, a public hearing will be held April 5 at University Neighborhood High School.

The parent association at UNHS has started an online petition. It reads, in part:

NYC Charter School of the Arts (City School of the Arts) Middle School proposes to relocate its District 2 school to District 1, identifying UNHS as its target location. This co-location would serve to add roughly 250 students (not including teachers and administration) to our, already, over utilized spaces, effective September 2017. We, the undersigned, adamantly oppose the co-location at UNHS… Even with limited resources and lack of facilities, our students (90% of whom are Title I) are excelling due to dedicated administrators and teachers as well as supportive parents and guardians. It would be a travesty to further fleece this population in order to accommodate this charter school. Therefore, we urge you to cease and desist from co-locating City School of the Arts at UNHS.

In the petition, parents point out that the facility (which was not built to accommodate high school students) is seriously overburdened. The cafeteria, for example, only seats 150, forcing some students to eat lunch as early as 10:40 a.m. They are making many of the same arguments parents made in 2013, the last time UNHS beat back a co-location plan. Right now 386 students are enrolled in the school, with plans to add another 50 students next year.

As for the charter school, it’s founding principal, Jamie Davidson, spoke with DNAinfo, saying the Lower East Side option isn’t an ideal one.

While we will continue to pursue all available private options, we felt compelled to submit a request for public space — it would be irresponsible not to… Our original request was made for a [School District 2] space, but because there was nothing available, the University Neighborhood High School building was introduced. It’s a shame folks are taking this pursuit as an affront. Our number one priority is always our kids, and depriving them of a space to learn is simply not an option.

The charter school is expected to submit its co-location proposal to the DOE today.

DOE Reverses Unpopular Co-Location Plan at University Neighborhood HS

Chin, Parents Tell DOE New High School Plan is Misguided

Last night, parents and other concerned residents crowded into a meeting room at University Neighborhood High School to speak out about a plan to move a second school into a century-old building on the Lower East Side.

Parents, Students Urge DOE to Rethink New High School on LES

On October 7, there will be a public hearing on the Lower East Side concerning the Department of Education’s plan to move a second high school into a century old, converted elementary school building at 200 Monroe St.  Here’s an update on efforts by parents to fight the DOE’s decision, which they learned about just before the summer ended.

DOE Plan: Add 500 Students to University Neighborhood High School Building

The other day parents and City Council member Margaret Chin rallied in opposition to a plan to locate a new high school within a building at 200 Monroe St. that is currently home to University Neighborhood High School.  As expected, the Department of Education made its proposal official.

Parents, Chin Express Concerns About New High School Plan

Parents, students and City Council member Margaret Chin rallied yesterday in opposition to a plan to move a second school into University Neighborhood High School’s building on Monroe Street.

Chin, Mendez Visit LES School Participating in Anti-Bullying Program

We stopped by a special event this past Friday at University Neighborhood High School on Gouverneur Street. Students and teachers gathered for a little “role playing,” as part of an anti-bullying campaign, “Respect For All Week.”  City Councilmembers Margaret Chin and Rosie Mendez (seated, left) were on hand for the program. By the way, we’ve been taking a look at another anti-bullying initiative the Henry Street Settlement is piloting. We’ll have a story about that next month.