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In Open Letter, Committee to Save SA Lafayette Middle School Demands Meeting with Chancellor Carranza About Revoking Their School and Need for Permanent Middle School


Contact: Anne Michaud, 914-712-8693 [email protected]org

Anna Miroff, 646-650-5201 [email protected]

In Open Letter, Committee to Save SA Lafayette Middle School Demands Meeting with Chancellor Carranza About Revoking Their School and Need for Permanent Middle School  

Parents Decry Chancellor’s Dismissive Treatment of Their Children: “Like Widgets Who Can Be Put Anywhere That Is Most Convenient for DOE.”

Brooklyn, NY — The Committee to Save SA Lafayette Middle School, a group comprised of parents and educators whose children were evicted by City Hall from Success Academy Lafayette Middle School in Building K025, today demanded a meeting with Chancellor Richard Carranza. In a letter to Chancellor Carranza, parents decried his response to their concerns during a Town Hall meeting on Wednesday.  Telling parents he had “very good news,” the Chancellor listed other Brooklyn schools with available seats, suggesting that their children could be distributed across the borough, and ignoring the fact that such dispersion would obliterate the school community and prevent a high-performing and diverse middle school from opening. While topics of diversity were central to Wednesday’s Town Hall, the Chancellor failed to acknowledge that SA Lafayette parents had made a choice based on diversity and proximity.

Many of the parents in the Committee have children who attend or have graduated from Success Academy Cobble Hill, a diverse elementary school that has suffered the impacts of the DOE’s inaction. Last year, the DOE offered Success Academy a site for a Cobble Hill middle school, but then decided to delay the site for another year. In exchange, Success agreed to convert its Bed-Stuy 3 Elementary School, located in public school Building K025 in Bed-Stuy, into a middle school to accommodate scholar overflow.

Now that the DOE has revoked space for SA Lafayette Middle School, parents of Cobble Hill graduates are facing the prospect of sending their children to far-flung school buildings, disrupting the school community and upsetting the balance of racial diversity that now exists. Next year would be the second year in a row that Cobble Hill parents have faced this challenge: during the 2017-2018 school year, Cobble Hill graduates had to travel all the way to 41st Street and 10th Avenue in Manhattan for middle school.

The DOE’s failure to provide Cobble Hill families with school space in reasonable proximity to their homes violates state law, which requires the city to provide public charter schools with space that is “adequate, comparable and reasonable.” It also threatens to break up a diverse school community — as the letter to Chancellor Carranza notes, Success Academy Cobble Hill has a student body that is “33% Hispanic, 27% black, 10% Asian, 24% white, and 6% multiracial… about half receive free or reduced price lunch.” The school’s diversity makes it a rarity in District 15, and it was recently identified as one of few public elementary schools in New York City with a very small achievement gap between students of different racial and economic backgrounds.

On Friday morning, parents from the Committee spoke with Mayor de Blasio during the Ask the Mayor program on WNYC, and while the Mayor agreed verbally to a meeting between Success parents and DOE staff he did not specify that the meeting would be with Chancellor Carranza.

The full text of the letter is copied below:

Dear Chancellor Carranza,

We are the parents of the children who were set to attend Success Academy Lafayette Middle School until your department took away our school building.  We write to implore you to find a long term location for our school community.

For months, we were informed that our school would be in the K025 building, but just three days before our children were set to graduate from elementary school, your department informed us that our school could no longer be located in K025.  Instead, you told us that our children can just attend another Success Academy in Brooklyn. But this isn’t just about finding a spot for our children for this coming year. This is about finding a permanent home for our entire school community including future graduates and the younger siblings of this year’s graduates.

You have said that our only need is for a school “in Brooklyn,” as if it were some tiny community.  Brooklyn has 2.7 million residents. That is more than the entire population of either of the last two cities for which you were Chancellor: Houston (2.3 million) and San Francisco (870,000). Brooklyn is big and our children are small;  they are 5th graders, some as young as 10 years old.

You have also talked about the importance of having more diverse schools in our City.  Success Academy Cobble Hill elementary school is a model of diversity. Our student body is 33% Hispanic, 27% black, 10% Asian, 24% white, and 6% multiracial; about half receive free or reduced price lunch. As many have acknowledged, there is a huge problem with diversity in District 15. We are proud of the fact that our school is one of the few District 15 schools that truly reflects its community. You should be supporting the preservation of this diverse school community by providing us with a building in our district. Instead, you are treating our students like widgets who can be put anywhere that is most convenient for DOE.

Since 2014, the Department of Education has been promising to find us a permanent location for our children, but every year, it fails to keep those promises. This year, the school’s graduates had to travel to 41st Street and 10th Avenue in Manhattan. And now, we don’t even know where our children will be going to school this fall.

Too often, the needs of public charter school parents are ignored. When Wadleigh Middle School’s supporters were concerned about their school being shut down, you met with them.  You should give us the same courtesy. We ask that you meet with us in person so you can hear our concerns and have a discussion about a long term solution for our school community.


The Committee to Save SA Lafayette MS



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