Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Upper Manhattan Parents Protest Space Giveaway to Success While Public School Kids Are Over Capacity

We call upon Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Farina to pull out of the deal to site the Success Academy charter school at the Mother Cabrini educational complex located in District 6.  We urge them to consult with the District 6 parent community and collaboratively determine how to use the Mother Cabrini space for current District 6 students.....
Cuomo and NY State legislature order de Blasio to find space for Eva but not for overcrowded public schools. A press conf was held Weds night.

By the way - the UFT was silent over the charter deal - why are they hiding?



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                 Contact:           Tory Frye 
                                                                                                            Johanna Garcia
May 21, 2014
 District Six Public School Parents Advocate for Using the
Mother Cabrini Space for Current District Six Student Needs  

Press Conference
When: Wednesday, May 21, 2014 @6:30 PM
Where: Isabella Geriatric Center (515 Audubon Avenue at 191st Street)

New York City – District 6 public school parents call attention to the inequity and injustice of the city paying the rent of a Success Academy charter school, to be located in the Mother Cabrini educational complex located in District 6, while current District 6 students are educated in trailers, substandard school facilities and overcrowded classrooms, and while numerous District 6 schools are over overcapacity and/or face imminent co-locations that will compromise students’ educations.  The Success Academy charter school in question was never approved for District 6; rather it was originally approved for District 1 and then moved to District 2.  There was no community engagement of any kind with the District 6 parent and neighborhood communities regarding locating a charter school in our district.  District 6 parents are distraught that their children’s needs and their schools’ needs, to improve, expand and flourish, continue to be ignored and hampered, while charter schools are fully supported in expanding and at great expense to the taxpayer.

Gale Brewer, the Manhattan Borough President, writes, “The siting of a Success Academy charter school at the former Mother Cabrini High School is taking place with zero transparency and no public input. For years, families in the community, CEC members from District 6, and education advocates have put in the necessary hours of dialogue to lay the groundwork for Mother Cabrini to successfully transition from a Catholic school to new and much needed public school in the district. Success Academy was never a partner in this effort and to be the recipient of this space is nothing short of a hostile takeover. This sort of opaque decision-making only breeds resentment and creates divisions. New York must do better.”

Evelyn Roman, public school parent and Parent Association President at District Six’s Mott Hall School says, “The Mott Hall School is the highest performing Title I School in District 6.   Despite this, it has been left to languish in a “temporary” building for 27 years.  This building has no cafeteria, using a makeshift one instead, no gym, no library, limited outdoor space (that is currently in violation of building codes), and tiny classrooms.  The current Mott Hall space was never intended for use as a school. Mott Hall parents have been advocating for new and adequate space for over a dozen years to no avail.  It is painful that well-equipped spaces, such as the Mother Cabrini space, have been offered to charter schools, funded by special interests, while our Mott Hall children are once again ignored and the hundreds of students who each year seek to attend Mott Hall are turned away due to lack of space.”

Miriam Aristy-Farer public school parent and President of District 6 Community Education Council (CEC6) notes, “As a District 6 parent and CEC6 president, it was troubling to learn about Success Academy coming to District 6 and Mother Cabrini via the local news, illustrating that there was no public engagement process of any kind. As a parent at a co-located District 6 school, given how quickly this decision was made after the state budget passed, I found myself depressed and asking if we New York City public school parents are actually now worse off than before.  This is very different from the future we envisioned after the Bloomberg era."

Johanna Garcia, a parent whose children attend PS/IS 187 and the Vice-President of the PTA, says, “Speaking on behalf of the PS/IS 187 community, the neighborhood school sitting just a block away from Mother Cabrini, we feel especially betrayed and disappointed in the utter lack of community input in the decision-making process.  In the past seven years, budget cuts to our school alone have exceeded $1.5 million, resulting in the loss of more than twelve teachers and three aides. Our school is bursting at the seams and grossly over capacity. So much so that two years ago, our popular universal pre-kindergarten program was squeezed out due to overcrowding.  The District 6 community deserves and, frankly, was expecting better from the new Administration.”

Yuderka Valdez, IS 52 parent and school leader says: "Earlier this year over 2,000 JHS 52 parents and District 6 community members signed a petition against the co-location of a Career and Technical Education (CTE) high school in the M052 building, when it was first proposed by the Bloomberg administration, because we knew that such a co-location would irreparably damage our children’s school and education.  Now we learn that city will spend tens of millions of dollars to house a charter school in a space that would be perfect for the incoming CTE high school, sparing our school and our students."

Finally, Kari Steeves, District 6 public school parent states, “The parents of Muscota New School, one of 3 progressive elementary schools in District 6, see many needs in our district that will go unaddressed and unfunded, because public money will be directed toward charter space, not public school space. Most urgently for our children, we have identified the need for a progressive middle school in the district to allow students to continue their education within the progressive model. We have expressed this need to our elected parent representatives on the CEC and the District Superintendent.  Rather than supporting this need and others identified by our fellow D6 parents, the city will now pay rent for and renovate space for a Success Academy charter school at the beautiful Mother Cabrini campus, even though there has been no movement within the D6 community to bring a Success Academy charter into the district. Parents at Muscota call on the state to repeal the amendment to the 2014 budget that guarantees publicly funded space to charter schools, which makes clear that the state neither trusts nor cares what local parents want for their children.

We District Six parents, elected parent leaders, public education advocates, and the elected representatives who support us urge our state representatives to introduce legislation to undo this disastrous policy, which forces the city to house or pay rent for charter schools. We call upon Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Farina to pull out of the deal to site the Success Academy charter school at the Mother Cabrini educational complex located in District 6.  We urge them to consult with the District 6 parent community and collaboratively determine how to use the Mother Cabrini space for current District 6 students. We note that the District 6 Community Education Council recently passed a resolution in opposition to the state budget provisions, urging our state elected leaders to rescind them and calling on the Mayor to work with the community to address the urgent needs of District 6 students, in particular the use of the Mother Cabrini space. All are welcome to join us on Wednesday May 21, 2014, at 6:30 PM at the Isabella Geriatric Center (515 Audubon Avenue) to hear from District 6 public school families affected and support our District 6 public school parents, students, schools, families and communities.

                                 ###################################

Victoria (Tory) Frye
vicnyc@me.com

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