By Dan Rivoli
The Upper West Side is on track to getting a new charter school after the State University of New York’s Board of Trustees unanimously approved Success Academy’s application Oct. 27.
Upper West Success—part of the Success Academy chain of charter schools—already has a website running and is taking applications. The Success Academy’s CEO Eva Moskowitz pitched parents in an Oct. 24 New York Post op-ed.
The early campaign for an Upper West Side charter school will be fighting against opposition: Success Academy is seeking co-location in P.S. 145, a school on 150 W. 105th St., between Amsterdam and Columbus avenues, that the city considers underutilized.
The Department of Education intends to keep the school under capacity as it rezones Upper West Side schools, maintaining P.S. 145’s building as a possible spot for a Success Academy charter school. P.S. 145, however, wants to expand its boundaries to grow and accept more students.
Local elected officials, P.S. 145’s principal and the parent group for the West Side school district are leading the opposition to the controversial co-location.
Council Member Gale Brewer is worried that the charter would sap students from good schools in her district.
“To put a charter school in the middle of a neighborhood and pull from schools already doing well is wrong,” Brewer said. “That’s just destroying good schools and that’s not the purpose of public education.”
Moskowitz believes West Side parents are clamoring for another school option. The good schools in the southern part of the Upper West Side are overcrowded and the private schools or gifted and talented programs may be out of reach for some students.
“A lot of parents feel they work hard, they pay their taxes. It’s supposed to be the case that you can send your kid to get a great, free public education,” Moskowitz told the West Side Spirit in October.
Now that the State University of New York gave the OK to Upper West Success, the Department of Education must create a proposal to locate the school. While a Department of Education spokesperson said that a formal proposal for co-locating Upper West Success has yet to be made, P.S. 145 is a possibility.
“The fact is local parents are choosing other options over P.S. 145, which is why the building has more than 300 empty seats,” the Department of Education said in a statement. “We must work hard to make this school successful and better utilize this space.”
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