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.
Earlier this year, the Girls Prep plan stirred strong emotions in the neighborhood. Parents from the other schools in the building — P.S. 188 and P.S. 94 — felt the charter school would be growing at the expense of their own kids. In the ruling, Steiner said the Education Department violated state law by failing to report what impact the proposal would have on P.S. 94, a school for children with autism.
According to Gotham Schools, the DOE is reviewing the ruling before making comment. Just a few weeks from the start of the new school year, it’s unclear how the decision will impact children in all three schools.