by Meredith Kolodner, Daily News
The Education Department is facing yet another roadblock in its plans to place and expand charter schools in existing public school buildings.
Parents filed a formal complaint with the state accusing the city of failing to disclose the negative impact that the expansion of the Girls Preparatory Charter School will have on students at Public Schools 188 and 94 on the lower East Side.
“There’s just no space,” said Yvonne Walker, co-president of the PS 188 parents association. “We already have [special education] therapists forced to share rooms.”
The complaint uses a similar argument as the lawsuit filed by the teachers union and the NAACP – which successfully blocked the closing of 19 failing schools.
The parents’ complaint says the Education Department did not give proper notice or accurate information when it announced its intention to add an extra 300 students to the PS 188 building.
Parents say they were not told that the special education school PS 94 would be cut in half or how the school – which has a safety plan for 920 students – would accommodate 1,200 students.
“We fully disclosed the impact on the schools,” countered Education Department spokesman Danny Kanner.
“We intend to aggressively contest these claims.”
Parents at four other schools – PS 30 and PS 138 in Harlem and PS 256 and Intermediate School 302 in Brooklyn – say they’re planning to file similar complaints.
“Why is it always that we have to file lawsuits and formal complaints?” Zakiyah Ansari of the Coalition for Educational Justice said. “Because that’s the only way we get heard.”