Mayor de Blasio to Evict 250 Success Academy Queens Middle Schoolers — Again!
**For Immediate Release March 4, 2021**
Michael Sherman, 201-306-9621
Sam Chafee, 401-368-5124
MAYOR DE BLASIO TO EVICT 250 SUCCESS ACADEMY QUEENS MIDDLE SCHOOLERS — AGAIN!
New York, NY — Same story, new year. Mayor Bill de Blasio has once again failed to follow through on his promise to provide a permanent middle school for more than 250 public school students who will attend Success Academy Hollis Middle School in Queens next year, kicking them out of their school at the end of the school year.
For more than four years, Success Academy parents have been battling Mayor de Blasio for a permanent middle school home for their children. Last May, the students were granted 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, the students have never even 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 threatening to evict them from I.S. 238, leaving them without a place to learn.
Time is running out for the mayor to change his heart. If the city does not propose a solution — either renewing the I.S. 238 co-location or providing an alternative — by March 12, the time required for documentation to be filed before the June Panel for Educational Policy meeting, the students expecting to attend SA Hollis Middle School next year will not have an educational home for 2021-22.
“During this tragic period, Success Academy generously offered its 47 locations to the city to use in any way it deemed appropriate, but the mayor can’t allow us another year and four additional rooms at SA Hollis to ensure our kids can continue their education without further disruption,” said Eva Moskowitz, CEO and Founder of Success Academy. “Our parents have been waiting four long years to ensure that their children have a first-rate education — and yet the mayor has failed them once again.”
By state law, the mayor must offer space that is “reasonable, appropriate and comparable and in the community school district to be served by the charter school.” The Department of Education (DOE) 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. But DOE now contends Success Academy needs to pay for an alternate location, even though the law clearly states that DOE, not public charter schools, have to pay for school facilities.
This latest move by DOE continues a multiyear effort by Mayor de Blasio to sharply reduce co-location approvals for charter schools. By refusing to make underutilized space available, the administration forces charter schools into private space at taxpayers’ expense.
Parents of the 2,200 Success Academy students in Queens have been pleading with the city for years for an additional permanent middle school site. Since 2017, parents have sent thousands of emails, secured thousands of signatures on petitions, and met with many Queens elected officials — all in an attempt to get the mayor to be accountable to their children.
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 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.
For more information about Success Academy, go to successacademies.org.