Queens Parents to Mayor De Blasio: “Enough is Enough!”
February 20, 2020
**FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, February 19, 2020**
Liz Baker, 646-902-4200
Ann Powell, 646-894-6407
Fed Up With City’s Delays, Success Academy Parents Demand a Middle School Location by March 4
New York, NY — If good things come to those who wait, Success Academy Queens families are past due on their just rewards. They’ve been waiting three years for a middle school for their children, doing everything in their power to convince Mayor de Blasio to fulfill his duty to all children. They’ve reached out to elected officials, made phone calls, sent emails, and signed petitions. They’ve shown up at town halls and spoken out at press conferences, and 4,000 took off time from work to rally this past September.
And now time is running out. If the administration does not come forth with a viable middle school solution by March 4, 200 Success Academy children will be returned to the system they purposefully left.
“It’s stressful because no one from the mayor’s office gives us a real reason why there is no middle school for Success Academy,” said Edwin Nunes, father of two SA Far Rockaway scholars. ”He doesn’t have a good reason for it, so we’re basically stuck waiting.”
During January discussions, the city admitted to Success Academy that the building offered in November — a defunct Catholic school too small to accommodate all students and inaccessible from Far Rockaway, one of the school communities affected — was inadequate. Once again, city officials said they would find a solution. Yet weeks have passed and no location has been put forth.
“It’s unconscionable what the city is doing to these families,” said Eva Moskowitz, founder and CEO of Success Academy. “The mayor would never do this to district families.”
The mayor, who has control over all New York City public schools and determines the fate of the children who attend them, suggested in October that co-located space was an option (Mayor de Blasio Interview with Errol Louis, 10/21/19, at 7:20). A few weeks earlier, Chancellor Richard Carranza had also discussed the possibility of co-location (Chancellor Carranza Interview with Errol Louis, 9/25/19, at 5:47). While there are six underutilized school buildings in the area, some with as many as 700 and 990 unused seats, the city continues to allow time to pass without making a viable proposal for these southeast Queens communities.
Those most affected — working families in Rosedale, Far Rockaway, Springfield Gardens, and South Jamaica — are the very people the mayor claims to represent and care about. Their sons and daughters have excelled at Success Academy. Last year, as third graders, 97% passed math and 94% passed ELA on the state exams. The majority of students are children of color and 57% receive free- or reduced-price lunch; all four Success elementary schools are among the top performing schools in the borough of Queens.
“I have a fourth grader and a first grader. To pull them out of Success Academy would be horrendous,” said SA South Jamaica parent Jeanie Martin. “It would destroy them.”
“I am not a politician. I am a mother,” said Osa Igbinaduwa, SA South Jamaica parent. “Mayor de Blasio has put my kids second place to whatever his agenda is. Is that politics? That’s for him to answer.”
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 45 schools across Brooklyn, the Bronx, Manhattan, and Queens, Success Academy enrolls 18,000 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. Success Academy schools received more than 17,000 applications for about 4,000 open seats for the 2019-20 academic year.
For more information about Success Academy, go to successacademies.org.