New York City

SUNY approves 17 new charter schools in NYC, mostly Success Academies

October 8, 2014 By Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Success Academy administrator Jim Manly rallies families attending a charter school march in Brooklyn last October. Photo by Mary Frost
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The SUNY Board of Trustees’ Charter Schools Committee on Wednesday approved resolutions to establish 17 new charter schools in New York City — 14 by Success Academy Charter Schools and three by Achievement First Bushwick. Many of the schools will be located in Brooklyn.

The city, not the state, needs to find space for the charter schools. If additional room can’t be carved out of existing public school buildings, the city may have to lay out millions of dollars to rent space.

In Brooklyn, charter schools were approved for districts 13, 14, 15, 17, 18, 22, and 23, but their final locations can’t be guaranteed.

Parents in Brooklyn’s District 15 filed an unsuccessful lawsuit in 2012 seeking to block a Success Academy school from opening in a Cobble Hill school building at 184 Baltic St., after the school had received approval to locate in another district.

While charter schools are publicly funded, they are privately run and some, such as the Success Academy network, founded by former City Councilwoman Eva Moskowitz, receive major support from corporations and Wall Street firms with deep pockets.

Charter school parents say the schools expand choices for their kids. Many parents at traditional public schools, however, say the charters draw scarce resources, such as libraries and science rooms, away from their own children.

SUNY received numerous comments before approving the charters. Ten members of the New York City Council opposed further expansion until issues regarding a lack of oversight and accountability are addressed. Parents of English Language Learners and learning disabled kids say their children have been “counseled out” of Success Academy schools to improve the charters’ test scores.

State Senators Martin Golden, Jeffrey Klein and Simcha Felder, however, wrote letters of support for Success Academy, saying there was a demand for the schools. Other parents have said they are not opposed to charter schools in principle, but only to the practice of co-locating them inside already crowded school buildings.

Success Academy will open four schools in August 2015, and an additional 10 schools in September 2016.

Achievement First Bushwick will open two schools in Brooklyn in August 2015. Achievement First Charter School 10 will serve eventually serve 732 students in kindergarten to 7th grade. Achievement First Charter School 11 will grow to serve 795 students in 5th through 12th grades.

A third school opening in August 2016, Achievement First Charter School 12, will eventually 732 students in kindergarten through 7th grade. 

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