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DOE Vows to Fight Complaint From LES Parents

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There’s more this morning on a story we covered earlier this week — the latest in the fight over the Girls Prep Charter School. As we reported on Monday, Lower East Side parents have filed a formal complaint with the state education commissioner. Last month, the Dept. of Education decided to approve the expansion of the Girls Prep Middle School in a building on East Houston Street shared with two other schools, P.S. 94 and P.S. 188. The DOE, the complaint alleges, violated state law by failing to spell out how students at those schools would be impacted by the expansion.

In an article posted on the New York Times web site yesterday afternoon, the DOE’s response:

“We fully disclosed the impact on the schools involved and followed all of the appropriate procedures set forth in the law,” said Danny Kanner, a spokesman. “We intend to aggressively contest these claims before the commissioner.”

The DOE released a state-mandated “educational impact statement,” explaining its plan to expand Girls Prep. But the parents argue it was also required to file a separate statement detailing the impact on the other schools (including the phasing out of the 4th and 5th grades at P.S. 94). That didn’t occur.

Last week, a judge blocked the DOE’s decision to close 19 high schools, saying it violated a new state law requiring “meaningful community involvement.”  In the Times, one supporter of mayoral control, suggests the DOE needs to do a better job of complying with the law. Joe Williams of Democrats for Education Reform:

(It is) the city’s responsibility to make sure its process is in compliance with the law, so that the necessary reform measures can move forward… It will have to be up to the city to really dot their i’s and cross their t’s if they want to show they are serious about education reform… (They’ve got to tighten up),” because the status quo is not an option… We can’t just keep on going without doing something bold.”

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