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Silver, Mendez Stand with Parents Battling DOE

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State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and City Councilmember Rosie Mendez offered their support a short time ago to parents battling the Department of Education over a charter school's desire for more space. They were both on hand for a news conference called by parent activists from P.S.20, P.S. 188, P.S. 94 and P.S. 184. They are among the schools the DOE has been studying, as it determines where to locate the Girls Prep Middle School, which wants to expand.

P.S. 184, the Shuang Wen School, was told today it is no longer under consideration. Parents from the school say, in spite of their victory, they will stay in a coalition fighting for an alternative that won't negatively impact any LES school. Silver, Mendez and the parents in attendance emphasized they're not opposed to Girls Prep's expansion plans – they simply don't want the charter school to grow at the expense of traditional public schools.

Earlier today, Lisa Donlan, District 1 Community Education Council president, told The Lo-Down she is proud of the parents for working together. However, she differs with them in one important respect. Donlan believes the Girls Prep request for space in District 1 should be denied if a solution cannot be found that protects all neighborhood schools. While members of the coalition say they don't want to see any school negatively impacted, they felt it would have been inappropriate, as parents, to suggest a denial was an option. The CEC will meet tomorrow night to formulate an official position on the Girls Prep issue. We'll have video clips from the news conference shortly.

Most other elected officials sent emissaries to today's news conference. Represented were Rep. Carolyn Maloney, Rep. Nydia Velazquez, State Sen. Dan Squadron and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer. Girls Prep has scheduled a rally for 4:3pm at City Hall. We'll have coverage of that later.

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