Mayor de Blasio misses deadline; moves to evict 250 Queens Middle Schoolers
**For Immediate Release March 15, 2021**
Michael Sherman, 201-306-9621
Sam Chafee, 401-368-5124
MAYOR DE BLASIO MISSES DEADLINE;
MOVES TO EVICT 250 QUEENS MIDDLE SCHOOLERS
NEW YORK, NY — Mayor de Blasio missed another critical deadline on Friday — effectively kicking 250 public charter school students out on the street. The de Blasio administration had until March 12 to extend the Success Academy Hollis Middle School co-location another year by posting a new Building Utilization Plan 45 days before the April 28th Panel for Educational Policy meeting. Failing to act, Mayor de Blasio denied the 250 students — 91% Black and Hispanic, many from low-income families — the ability to continue their education with Success Academy.
Success Academy parents have been fighting the mayor and his Department of Education for more than four years to find a permanent middle school home for their children. Last May, the Panel for Educational Policy (PEP) granted SA Queens students a temporary, one-year co-location at I.S. 238 Susan B. Anthony Academy in Hollis, Queens, for school year 2020-21, to allow the city more time to find a permanent location. Disrupted by the pandemic — this area of Queens is one of the city’s hardest hit neighborhoods — the students never set foot in a classroom. In the intervening nine months, the city has not found a permanent location for them, and now City Hall is moving to evict them from I.S. 238, leaving them without a place to learn.
“Mr. Mayor, please let us keep Hollis, or find a middle school for us before the next school term,” said Judith Nephew, SA Hollis Middle School parent. “Stop putting politics over our kids. We just need you to step up, Mr. Mayor, so we can get back to our normal lives.”
The Mayor still has options to do the right thing:
- Use his emergency powers in the midst of a pandemic to allow SA students to remain co-located at I.S. 238 for another year without the normal six months lead time — it would only take 4 additional classrooms.
- Co-locate SA Queens middle schoolers in a different district school. There are at least 750 unused seats in Queens Building Q072, which already houses several other schools including MS 72 Catherine and Count Basie Middle School, according to recent space and enrollment data from the city. In addition, there are 500+ unused seats in both Queens Buildings Q400 and Q490. Over 43,000 students have left NYC district schools since the pandemic hit — many of these buildings have even more available seats.
- Locate the students in city-funded private space. The city currently provides district and charter school students space in privately owned buildings. There’s no reason why it can’t be done for SA Hollis MS.
By state law, the Mayor is obligated to offer at no cost to charter schools a co-location site in a building approved by the Panel for Education Policy or to secure a private facility at no expense to the public charter 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.