Charter-school woes continue for New York City DOE

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BENSONHURST, Brooklyn (PIX11) – Parents at Seth Low Middle School in Bensonhurst say they’re not against charter schools, they just want them to find their own space.  Right now Seth Low has an “A” rating and has room to grow.  And their worried that won’t be the case if their forced to share their building with a charter school.

“It’s working really well,” said parent Alexandra Lopez.  “So why do they have to suffer at the expense of other students?”

Earlier this week Mayor Bill de Blasio and Chancellor Carmen Farina ruled that Success Academy would be allowed to move into 5 of the 8 proposed public school shared locations that were approved under the Bloomberg administration.
Most of the attention that followed focused on the charter schools that would not be allowed to co-locate, but parents Seth Low say the Mayor and Chancellor did not go far enough.

“The majority of our community were hoping that de Blasio and Farina would think about what they were doing and they said they would listen to us.  I feel, and many of us feel that we weren’t listened to,” said Heather Fiorica President of the Council for Exceptional Children for district 21.

Charter protest

Chancellor Farina had no answers for PIX11 Friday either.  We tried calling, e-mailing, and even showed up at the Department of Education’s door step only to be told the chancellor’s schedule was booked for the day.  A spokesperson for Success Academy did get back to us about the co-location saying that right now Seth Low is only at 55-percent of it’s capacity.

“Success Academy schools are among the highest performing in New York City and we are excited to meet some of the overwhelming demand from Bensonhurst families for another high quality public school option in their neighborhood,” said spokeswoman Kerri Lyon.

But some argue that those charter school seats won’t be reserved for children who live in the area.

“I have a problem when they take seats of neighborhood children because they’re not talking about bringing in neighborhood children necessarily,” said Judy Gerowitz a representative for the United Federation of Teachers.

With 5 elementary schools recently added to the area, some are worried future students will be forced to cram into overcrowded classrooms if Seth Low is forced to split its space in half.

“Next year and the following year where are those kids going to go to school?” said Laurie Windsor President of the CEC for district 20. “We are bursting at the seams.”

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