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Parents Gear Up to Protest Manhattan Charter School Plan

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Three schools share the MS 56 building at 220 Henry Street.

A new charter school battle is brewing on the Lower East Side. The Department of Education is now out with a plan to move an expanded Manhattan Charter School into a building at 220 Henry Street that is already home to three other schools.  Parents have already sounded off about the idea at a public meeting.  Their protests are expected to grow louder in the weeks ahead.

Manhattan Charter has been operating for several years in a shared building on Attorney Street.  Responding to high demand, administrators won approval for a second school in this neighborhood. Next fall, they intend to enroll up to 100 kindergarteners and first graders in the Henry Street building. Parents of students at the Henry Street School for International Studies, Castle Middle School and University Neighborhood Middle School say the building is already overloaded.

But the DOE, in its assessment, found the school only has 775 students right now compared to a maximum capacity of 1445 students. In the past, parents and the District 1 Community Education Council have argued that DOE number crunchers are way off in their evaluations of neighborhood school space needs.

There are several upcoming meetings to discuss the issue. Wednesday night District 1’s Community Education Council will take up the matter at its monthly “business meeting.”  The public will have another chance to weigh in on the plan Wednesday, February 15th, during the CEC’s monthly “Calendar Meeting.”   A formal public hearing is scheduled March 8, at 6 p.m. in the auditorium at 220 Henry Street.  Finally, the DOE’s Panel For Education Policy will vote to approve Manhattan Charter’s proposed location in April.

The DOE’s various documents on the charter school expansion are available here.

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  1. Its not fair thats my school and its already as tight and packed as it could be with 2 other schools in the building why do we need a FULL elementary school?I go to Castle and there planning to bring our school to the second floor like what the heck? If there planning to do this how are they planning to put 7 grades into one floor with like 7 classrooms by September? If there planning to do this at least expand the school and add like 4 floors to the building.

  2. Ppl always complaining about how charter schools are taking over public schools. Well to all that don’t know Manhattan Charter School is a Public school. The Lower East Side is in need of more elementary schools. Schools just don’t close for no reasons check Ur numbers and statics there are low if your School is closing. I’m for opening New schools. Out with the old in with the New!!!

  3. Update…the date for the PEP vote is not in April. It is March 21st at Fashion Industries High School, 6:00 pm

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