Charter school leaders demanded that Mayor de Blasio swiftly sign off on 27 applications for placement in city school buildings in a conference call Monday.
Eva Moskowitz of Success Academy, Matthew Levey of the International Charter School of New York, Miriam Raccah of Bronx Charter School of the Arts and Jeremiah Kittredge of Families for Excellent Schools argued that there’s ample room to accommodate the requests without delay.
An accompanying analysis by FES highlighted 112 “chronically underutilized” schools across the city. Those buildings have had more than 300 empty classroom seats annually since 2012, according to FES. Of those 112 schools, 68 were in districts where charters are applying for space, the group said.
“The data therefore is a staggering validation of the fact that 27 requests should be a no-brainer and not at all complicated,” said Kittredge.
Charter schools that aren’t given space in public buildings must locate and pay for private spaces and are reimbursed. The charter officials said trawling for workable classrooms is unduly burdensome and needlessly expensive in light of the city’s existing vacancies.
Moskowitz said having to secure and finance private space was not realistic in the long term and that siting delays were hampering future planning.
“More pointedly, I would argue that we shouldn’t have to because we’re a public school and there is space in New York City,” she said. “So we too look forward to a different type of relationship with the mayor.”
Levey said that despite a slew of public options near his school’s downtown Brooklyn location, the DOE only offered him space in prohibitively distant Flatbush.
He said he was forced to consider a car dealership, an old ice cream factory and a parking garage as options.
“Public charter schools are asking for fair access to open public space and fair treatment of our students,” said Levey. “If Mayor de Blasio is really willing to collaborate with us, he should be willing to treat all public schools fairly.”
The DOE has consistently questioned FES school vacancy data, arguing that city figures don’t account for future reorganizations and potential population shifts.
“We’ve been in close communication with each charter organization and this misleading report is just another attempt to politicize the education of New York City children,” said DOE spokesman Michael Aciman. “We will continue to follow State Law and work with…