Success Academy, parents hold press conference to prevent Mayor de Blasio from evicting 250 children from their Queens Middle School
March 10, 2021
**For Immediate Release March 10, 2021**
Michael Sherman, 201-306-9621
Sam Chafee, 401-368-5124
SUCCESS ACADEMY, PARENTS HOLD PRESS CONFERENCE TO PREVENT MAYOR DE BLASIO FROM EVICTING 250 CHILDREN FROM THEIR QUEENS MIDDLE SCHOOL
NEW YORK, NY — Eva Moskowitz, Founder and CEO of Success Academy Charter Schools, today joined parents and students from SA Hollis Middle School for a virtual press conference calling on Mayor Bill de Blasio to reverse his plan to evict 250 students from their school.
The students were granted a temporary, one-year co-location at I.S. 238 Susan B. Anthony Academy for this school year, allowing the city more time to find them a permanent location. Disrupted by the pandemic, they never even set foot in a classroom. Over the past nine months, the city has not found a permanent location for them and is now threatening to evict them.
“I can’t express enough the pain and frustration that my family and I are faced with knowing that after so many years of waiting that we might not have a school for my son and other kids to attend this August,” said Judith Nephew, an SA Hollis Middle School parent.
“My child has to struggle every year for space to learn. Why can’t they let our kids learn? … Why can’t Mayor de Blasio give them the space they need?,” said Yvesnande Bureau, a parent of two at SA Hollis. “These are Queens kids. These are our kids. Why is this so difficult?”
“Mr. Mayor, now is not the time for politics,” Moskowitz said. “Our parents have been advocating for four long years to ensure that their children have a first-rate education — and now their children are about to be kicked out of their school. Mr. Mayor, you have options, and now is the time to make this right.”
At the press conference, Moskowitz pointed to three viable options the Mayor has:
- Let the students remain co-located at I.S. 238 Susan B. Anthony Academy for another year—there is enough room for all students, including those from a new school slated to open in 2021-22.
- Co-locate the students in a different district school —43,000 students have left NYC district schools since the pandemic hit last spring. Based on the most recent building utilization analysis, which was done prior to the pandemic, there are a number of buildings with 300 or more empty seats in the three nearby school districts (CSDs 27, 28, 29).
- Co-locate the students in a privately owned space—The city currently leases privately owned buildings for numerous district and charter schools, including six other SA schools, and there’s no reason why it can’t be done for SA Hollis MS.
It is the Mayor’s legal responsibility to provide public charter students with a space to learn. The law clearly states “… the city school district shall either: (A) offer at no cost to the charter school a co-location site in a public school building approved by the board of education as provided by law, or (B) offer the charter school space in a privately owned or other publicly owned facility at the expense of the city school district and at no cost to the charter school. The space must be reasonable, appropriate and comparable and in the community school district to be served by the charter school and otherwise in reasonable proximity.” N.Y. Ed. Law § 2853(3)(e)(1)
If the city does not propose a solution — either renewing the I.S. 238 co-location with four additional rooms or providing an alternative — by Friday, March 12th, the time required for documentation to be filed before the April 28th Panel for Educational Policy meeting, the students will not have an educational home for 2021-22.
For the full recording of the Zoom press conference see the following link: https://vimeo.com/521970056/994ff48eb6
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.