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NYC Department of Education Delays Restoring Power to Open Union Square School

February 27, 2016

Contact: Dan Bank

[email protected]

Instead of Generators and Weekend Crew to Make Sure 2,000 School Children Are Back in Class on Monday, City Stalls

New York, NY ― School children can wait and parents are left in the dark. That’s the verdict of the New York City Department of Education. A day after an electrical explosion forced the closure of a city building that hosts Success Academy Union Square and five other schools, the DOE has not responded to demands for an investigation, nor has the city taken steps to provide the generators and weekend work crew necessary to open the building on Monday.

“The DOE’s lethargic response is completely unacceptable,” said Eva Moskowitz. “The city has the capacity to bring in generators and restore electrical power, and we demand that the mayor act with speed to get this done. Children cannot afford to lose valuable instruction time. Parents deserve answers: what caused this electrical fire and why is there such apathy around reopening the building? We demand the city bring in a work crew today."

The message is clear: The education of 2,000 school children is a low priority for the city, and preventing lost learning time is not urgent. Parents are left to wonder: Would other municipal buildings such City Hall or Tweed receive the same lack of action?  

DOE staff were onsite at the Irving Place building on Friday, but provided little information about the source of the problem and had no proposed solution. Success Academy Union Square’s 330 scholars and almost 2,000 other students — and their parents — are waiting for answers.



Founded in 2006, Success Academy Charter Schools are free public pre-k through 12 schools open to all children in the state through a random lottery. With 34 schools across Brooklyn, the Bronx, Manhattan, and Queens, Success Academy enrolls 11,000 students, primarily low-income children of color in disadvantaged neighborhoods: 74% of students receive free or reduced-price lunch, 95% are children of color, 13% are children with disabilities, and 8.5% are English language learners. Ranked in the top 1% in math and the top 3% in English on 2015 state proficiency tests, Success Academy schools received more than 22,000 applications for fewer than 2,300 open seats last year. Two Success Academy schools, Success Academy Harlem 1 and Harlem 3, have been honored as National Blue Ribbon Schools by the U.S. Department of Education, the only Harlem schools in the last 25 years to receive this prestigious award.

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