More Than A Month Into The School Year, Success Academy Still Missing Subsidized MetroCards For 2,624 Students.
Success Academy – September 21, 2016
Bureaucratic snafus at the NYC Department of Education are forcing thousands of low-income families at Success schools to shoulder an unfair financial burden
New York, NY — Fully a month into the school year, 2,624 students at 22 Success Academy schools still haven’t received subsidized MetroCards from the city’s Department of Education — costing their families, many of whom are low-income, hundreds of thousands of dollars.
By law, students at NYC public schools (including charter schools) are eligible for subsidized bus and subway transportation based on their grade and how far they must travel to school. The DOE delivers fully and partially paid MetroCards to schools at the beginning of the academic year so that children in need can use them. Yet entire shipments of the cards to Success schools have gone missing. Others were sent to the wrong location or are incomplete.
These MetroCards are critically important to Success parents, many of whom are avoiding failing district schools within walking distance from their homes. The collective value of the lost subway and bus trips is more than $350,000 — and counting.
“This is yet another example of a huge schools bureaucracy being unresponsive to the everyday needs of working parents,” said Success Academy founder and CEO Eva Moskowitz. “We shouldn’t have to beg for the MetroCards that our families deserve and need.”
Lakenya Deboure is the mother of an 11th grader at Success Academy High School of the Liberal Arts who is still waiting on a MetroCard. Her daughter rides a crosstown bus to a subway station each morning to get to school.
“It’s cost me $124 out of pocket already, and that number will continue to grow if the City doesn’t do its part,” Deboure said. “The commute is worth it to us because Success Academy scholars are high achievers. But I’m very angry and frustrated.”
The Success schools hurt the most by this total administrative bungling include:
● Success Academy Bed-Stuy 1 and Success Academy Bed-Stuy Middle School, where 502 children still don’t have MetroCards
● Success Academy High School of the Liberal Arts, which primarily serves students from Harlem, and where 242 children still don’t have MetroCards
● Success Academy Bronx 2 Middle School, where 168 children still don’t have MetroCards after some cards were shipped to the wrong location
Staff at Success Academy have relentlessly tried to track down the missing cards over the course of dozens of emails and phone calls. Many of these messages went unreturned. Success continues to request a meeting with top officials in the DOE Office of Pupil Transportation to resolve the widespread problems.
ABOUT SUCCESS ACADEMY CHARTER SCHOOLS
Founded in 2006, Success Academy Charter Schools are free public K-12 schools open to all children in the state through a random lottery. With 41 schools across Brooklyn, the Bronx, Manhattan, and Queens, Success Academy enrolls 14,000 students, primarily low-income children of color in disadvantaged neighborhoods: 77% of students receive free or reduced-price lunch, 95% are children of color, 12% are children with disabilities, and 8.5% are English language learners. Ranked in the top 1% in math and the top 1.5% in English on 2016 state proficiency tests, Success Academy schools received more than 20,000 applications for about 3,200 open seats this year.
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