Upper West Side Charter Shuffle

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By Dan Rivoli

The Upper West Side charter school shuffle continues.

The plan to open a Success Academy charter school in P.S. 145, 150 W. 105th St., between Amsterdam and Columbus avenues, seems to be scuttled, according to Noah Gotbaum, head of the local Community Education Council.

Now, West Prep Academy—a middle school on West 77th Street and Columbus Avenue—may move into P.S. 145’s building to open up space in the heavily overcrowded schools in the southern part of the Upper West Side.

“This new proposed plan is better news for P.S. 145,” Gotbaum wrote in a letter he emailed to the Upper West Side school district community.

Moving West Prep would open up needed room for the new school—P.S. 425—created to relieve overcrowding at other Upper West Side public schools.

“Where [West Prep is] located now is very crowded,” said Council Member Gale Brewer. “P.S. 145 is a perfect place to go.”

As the Department of Education undertakes the rezoning of Upper West Side schools, there was a plan to keep the boundaries for P.S. 145—currently under capacity—intact. Though the Department of Education and Success Academy—run by former East Side Council Member Eva Moskowitz—had yet to devise a firm proposal, P.S. 145 was considered a prime spot for the first Upper West Side charter school.

Gotbaum wrote in the letter that P.S. 145’s zones are expected to grow, allowing more students to enroll. But he suspects that the new location for Upper West Success will be P.S. 165 on 234 W. 109th St., between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue.

The issue is likely to be brought up at a Nov. 17 meeting of the Community Education Council—the parent group for the Upper West Side and West Harlem school district.

The Department of Education and Success Academy are mum on the location for the charter school, and are ruling nothing out.

“We think Success Academy charter schools are doing great work in New York City—we support their expansion and are committed to finding this new school a home,” said Jack Zarin-Rosenfeld, a spokesperson for the Department of Education. “While no decision has been made yet, we’re currently considering a few ideas and will propose one soon.”

A spokesperson for Success Academy, in a statement, is leaving the location up to the Department of Education.

“There’s overwhelming parent demand for this school and for more options on the Upper West Side,” said Jenny Sedlis, a Success Academy spokesperson. “It’s up to the DOE to decide what siting will meet that demand.”

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