Success Academy officials said Thursday that City Hall won’t give classroom space to 250 southeast Queens students – even though there’s plenty of room in nearby buildings.
The city’s largest charter operator said Mayor Bill de Blasio “abandoned” the students because of his hostility toward the independently operated schools.
“The students, primarily children of color, are among the highest performing students in Queens, but won’t be able to continue their education with Success Academy if the mayor continues to deny them a location,” the network said in a statement Thursday.
There are at least four Department of Education buildings near Success Academy Hollis Middle School, each with more than 500 unused seats, the network said, citing newly released data on DOE building use.
One of those facilities, Success said, is only 47 percent occupied.
The DOE has repeatedly stated that it’s the network’s responsibility to find and secure space for their students.
“As we’ve told Success Academy time and time again, these seats will be used to address the pressing needs of Queens students who need a seat close to home, including children with disabilities,” said spokesperson Katie O’Hanlon, who noted talks with the network will continue.
Academy chief Eva Moskowitz has argued that low-income parents should have the same school choice as wealthier New Yorkers — either by enrolling their kids in private schools or residing in neighborhoods with superior educational options.
Charter schools, she said, are often the only alternative for families wanting out of low-performing public schools in their area.
While enrollment at the city’s public schools dropped by 4 percent this year, charter rosters jumped by 10 percent — led by a sudden influx of Asian and white students.
Charter critics argue that the public money provided to them should instead be given to traditional public schools under the DOE.
Others claim charters push out challenging students in order to protect attractive academic metrics.