Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Please Join Our Press Conference and Protest Today to Reject the Success Charter Network's Pending District 3 Application and Co-Location at PS 145: Tuesday 10/19, 3:45 PM at PS 145, 150 West 105th Street

For Immediate Release

Please Join Assemblyman Danny O'Donnell, Council Member Gale Brewer, Other
Elected Officials, Community and School Representatives, and District 3
Parents at a Press Conference Today, 10/19 at 3:45 pm at PS 145 (150 West
105th between Amsterdam and Columbus) to Reject the Success Charter
Network's "Upper West Success" Application and Instead Improve the Prospects
of All of Our District 3 Schools

Currently, the SUNY Board of Trustees is considering an application
submitted by Success Charter Networks for a new K-8 school to be co-located
within a district school building within Community School District 3.
Apparently, however, the legislated charter approval process and its public
input component do not apply to Eva Moscowitz and her Success Charter
Network Schools. While the SUNY Board of Trustees vote on her latest
Success Charter network application has yet to take place (it is planned for
tomorrow, 10/20), and no building location has been specified within her
pending 1000+ page charter application, Ms. Moscowitz has picked out a
public school building of her choice and already begun advertising her new
"Upper West Success" school at bus stops on the Upper West Side and on a


Meanwhile, the faculty, parents and administration at Ms. Moscowitz's target
location, PS 145, are none too happy to have been told by the DOE's Office
of Portfolio Planning that the SUNY vote and the mandated Educational Impact
Statement process for co-location already is a foregone conclusion: "We
were informed by the DOE last week that it is 95% certain that the new
Success Charter School will be co-locating within our school come next
September" said PS 145 PTA President Tina Crockett.

In fact SUNY had scheduled a vote to approve the application over a month
ago on September 15, long before the end of the required 45 day public
comments period for charter applications, but postponed the vote after being
threatened by a lawsuit from the District 3's Community Education Council,
and the Co-Presidents of the Parent Elected Citywide Council on Special
Education, Jaye Bea Smalley and John Englert in the attached letter.
"Clearly, SUNY knew it would have broken the law by approving the Success
Charter application in the middle of the 45 day mandatory public comments
period," stated CEC 3 President Noah E Gotbaum.

The CEC 3/CCSE Presidents' letter further protested a SUNY Trustee's
sub-committee resolution recommending approval of Success Charter's
application only 11 days after the application had been filed. The late
August draft SUNY resolution also claimed that "no comments" on the
application had even been received by SUNY, a statement met with amazement
by the dozens of District 3 parents and community members who had sent in
emails to SUNY seeking Success Charter's rejection.

When queried by the CEC on this omission of community input into the
application process, SUNY Charter Institute Director Jonas Chartock
explained that the only "comments" the Trustees "are required by statute to
have considered..prior to a vote" are those sent in by Chancellor Klein, who
in fact had not forwarded any comments on the application. Is this the
public input process as envisioned by the legislature?

And what happened to the dozens of comments from the community not penned by
the Chancellor? According to Ralph Rossi, Vice President for Legal Affairs
at SUNY, those are to be summarized by SUNY and sent to the Trustees at any
point in the approval process. Mr Rossi continued, however, that many of
these comments became "null and void" after Ms. Moscowitz's organization
suddenly withdrew its application on the last day of a prior public comments
period, only to reapply a few days later - with a clean slate and no
community comments on record to that point.

Back at PS 145, the school's plans to increase its enrollment and reach into
the broader Upper West Side and Harlem Community are under threat by the
Success Charter incursion. In fact there is a palpable fear that PS 145
students will be squeezed into hallways and basement space as has occurred
in PS 149 and PS 241, the other District 3 schools co-located with Ms.
Moscowitz's Success Charter schools. The PS 145 community is justifiably
worried that eventually it may have to close down completely in order to
accommodate the 698 proposed Success Charter students, since by the DOE's
own assessment there are only 320 unutilized seats within the PS 145

Where will the remaining 370 seats come from needed to accommodate the
Success Charter application? The DOE isn't saying. Given, however, that
many of PS 145's students are in self-contained Special Education classes -
which not one of Ms. Moscowitz's schools offer - possibilities are extremely
limited for a substantial number of PS 145 students to move across the hall
and matriculate in the newly established charter. Regardless, in a rezoning
plan unveiled last week to CEC3, the DOE proposed to freeze the 145 zone
size thereby limiting its enrollment increases and maintaining the
building's "underutilized" status for the pre-ordained Success Charter
co-location. "Underutilized buildings are extremely hard to come by and as
such we seek to use them for co-locating new schools" commented Elizabeth
Rose, the Director of the DOE's Office of Portfolio Planning.

Sadly, Success Charter's approval and co-location within the PS 145 building
likely will negatively reverberate far beyond the Bloomingdale School
community and across all of District 3, not simply by taking up seats that
our overcrowded district desperately needs, but also by putting at risk a
Federal magnet grant awarded to PS 145 and seven other District 3 schools.
The $11 million grant, which seeks to increase racial integration and
performance, stipulates that every magnet school involved must have adequate
space to grow their programs in line with the grant application. In PS
145's case this is not a curtailment of students but rather an increase in
racial diversity and enrollment of some 8-10% over a 3 year period. The
grant further stipulates that if one school is out of compliance, as PS 145
is likely to be, all schools will be, thereby forfeiting the grant funding
for all 8 of the magnet schools.

For these and numerous other reasons as delineated in the attached Class
Size Matters and CEC3 comments on the Success Charter Application, and the
PS 145 Community Comments - we ask that you join Assemblyman Daniel
O'Donnell, Councilmember Gale Brewer, PS 145 and District 3 Teachers,
Administrators and Parents, and Elected members of Community Education
Council 3 and the Citywide Council on Special Education today at 3:45, at PS
145 - 150 West 105th Street between Columbus and Amsterdam.

For comments and questions, please contact:

Noah E Gotbaum - President, Community Education Council District 3: 917
658 3213

Tina Crockett - President, PS 145 Parent Association: 646 315 4462

Jaye Bea Smalley - Co-President, Citywide Council on Special Education*:

John Englert - Co-President, Citywide Council on Special Education*: 973
907 0319

Leonie Haimson - Executive Director, Class Size Matters: 917 435 9329

*for affiliation purposes.

No comments: