DOE’s new blue book reveals four school buildings in Queens with 2,342 vacant seats — more than enough space for Success Academy Hollis middle schoolers
March 29, 2021
**For Immediate Release March 25, 2021**
Michael Sherman, 201-306-9621
Sam Chafee, 401-368-5124
DOE’S NEW BLUE BOOK REVEALS FOUR SCHOOL BUILDINGS IN QUEENS WITH 2,342 VACANT SEATS — MORE THAN ENOUGH SPACE FOR SUCCESS ACADEMY HOLLIS MIDDLE SCHOOLERS
Good News! Hundreds of Unused Seats Available for 250 Students Who Want Only to Continue Their Education at the School That They Love.
The Mayor Has the Available Space to Serve Children and Save Taxypayers — But Will He?
NEW YORK, NY – This week, the de Blasio administration released its newest Enrollment, Capacity, and Utilization Report, for 2019-20 (here), which shows that there are at least four buildings in the vicinity of Success Academy Hollis Middle School, each with more than 500 unused seats, enough available seats to accommodate the 250 students that Mayor de Blasio abandoned earlier this month, refusing to allow them to stay in Building Q238. As screenshots from the report show, there are a total of 2,342 vacant seats in these four underutilized buildings:
- Q400: 72% utilized; 512 available seats
- Q420: 74% utilized; 574 available seats
- Q490: 75% utilized; 533 available seats
- Q072: 47% utilized; 723 available seats
Although untrue, Mayor de Blasio has continued to assert that Success Academy’s Queens students cannot be accommodated in the Q238 building because a new District 75 school is planned to open there next fall. But as the city’s data shows, there are several other buildings where the mayor could also place the SA Queens children, as these screenshots from the Blue Book show:
DOE shrinks total number of seats in Building Q072, but there is still excess space
It’s interesting to note that according to the DOE’s new report, one of its buildings lost seats over the past year. In the previous Bluebook (2018-19), the building capacity for Building Q072 was listed as 1,443 students; but in the report released earlier this week, overall building capacity had decreased to 1,372 seats. Enrollment for both district schools declined over the year as well, while the number of students listed in the District 75 Q993 program increased slightly. Note that shaded schools indicate schools with more than one site. Even with the reduction in total available seats, there are more than 700 seats available in Q072, enough to site a permanent middle school for SA Hollis, if the mayor desired to do so.
Blue Book 2018-19 – Building Capacity = 1,443 seats
Blue Book 2019-20 – Building Capacity = 1,372 seats
Background: On March 12, Mayor de Blasio failed to meet the deadline to renew SA Hollis Middle School’s temporary co-location at I.S. 238 without providing any alternative. 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 mayor claims that with the addition of a new District 75 school, there is no room for SA Hollis students in Building Q238. But he has refused to acknowledge — or act — on other viable options for the children.
As far back as 2017, the de Blasio administration indicated it would provide SA Queens students with a permanent middle school (see letter from DOE). More recently, in October of 2019, Mayor de Blasio told NY1, “When the DOE says to these schools, ‘We’re gonna have a space for you,’ they live by it” (Inside City Hall with Errol Louis, 7:20). Since then the mayor has changed his script, and has said Success Academy must provide its own building, even though there are several other buildings in this area of Queens with more than 500 unused seats. The city is responsible for providing space to public charter schools, per New York state Education Law §2853(3)(e)(1), despite the mayor’s claim to the contrary, and that public school space exists in buildings Q072, Q400, and Q490. And if the DOE does not provide public school space, the law also requires that it provides alternative public or private facilities at no cost to the school.
ABOUT SUCCESS ACADEMY
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 47 schools across Brooklyn, the Bronx, Manhattan, and Queens, Success Academy enrolls 20,000 students, primarily children of color from low-income households in disadvantaged neighborhoods: 74% receive free or reduced-price lunch, 94% are students of color, 16% have disabilities, and 8% are English language learners. In 2020, 100% of SA’s third and largest class of 99 graduating seniors were accepted to college, with 22% accepted to highly selective and 47% to selective institutions, with robust financial aid packages; 82% of the class will be the first in their families to attend college.