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Parents Express Outrage, as Girls Prep Plan Becomes Apparent

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At the end of this week, the Department of Education (DOE) is expected to release its plan for the expansion of the Girls Prep Middle School. But there doesn't appear to be much mystery about what's been decided. The DOE has been weighing at least three options to accommodate the charter school, which shares a building on East Houston Street with P.S. 188 and P.S. 94, a special needs school.

In an email to supporters last night, parent leaders from P.S. 188 are making it clear the DOE has telegraphed exactly what it intends to do, in spite of the fact that state law mandates a public hearing at the affected school. According to the email, P.S. 188's principal was advised two days before Christmas of a plan that would keep all three schools in the building, allowing Girls Prep to take over "underutilized space."  On the same day, the email indicates, the principal was notified about a meeting to be held January 5th (yesterday), to hear feedback about the plan.

The parents say they are "outraged" at the way the Education Department has handled the situation. Since the schools were closed until Monday, they say, there was no time to prepare a response to the proposal:

The timeline here was at best, disrespectful of parents who need to review and determine the potential IMPACT of the space scenario for the 188M building.   At worst, it can be viewed as an attempt to "slip something by in the night" so to speak – given the meeting that took place immediately BEFORE and the meeting to take place immediately AFTER vacation.   In either instance, the timeline does NOT provide adequate time for parents and the SLT to prepare a thoughtful, reasonable response.  

City Councilmember Rosie Mendez, who has been sharply critical of the DOE's handling of the Girl's Prep issue, was invited to yesterday's meeting. We have a call in to her.  Lisa Donlan, Community Education Council president, says they'll formulate a course of action when the official decision is made, presumably on Friday.

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