The city plans to offer space in public school buildings to 10 Success Academy charter schools and two Icahn charter schools, but not to 12 other schools that requested it, officials said late Tuesday.
The 24 new or expanding charter schools had requested the space under the state’s new charter-school law, and some had already been notified of the decisions. But the announcement offers the first glimpse at the city’s overarching strategy when it comes to the space decisions, with officials approving exactly half of the requests, and shows that Success Academy has become a clear favorite in the city’s co-location decision-making process.
The decisions also reflect a change in the de Blasio administration’s attitude toward charter schools since taking office, when Mayor Bill de Blasio criticized Success Academy and courted some “mom and pop” charter schools that were not part of larger charter-school networks. This round of decisions favored two networks, Success and Icahn, while rejecting a number of independent charter schools like Growing Up Green and New Dawn, a member of the Coalition of Community Charter Schools that met with city officials earlier this year.
Two of the four schools that the city said it would offer space to in September also belonged to Success Academy, whose CEO Eva Moskowitz led the charge to give charter schools access to free facilities after the mayor nixed three of her schools’ co-location plans in February.
Still, the patterns were not clear-cut. Achievement First, another big network, had three applications rejected, as did least at one favorite of Chancellor Carmen Fariña, VOICE Charter School, which is independent.
A spokeswoman for the department wrote in an email that the decisions were based on the same criteria the city has used since February when it began making co-location decisions: not disrupting programs that serve students with disabilities, avoiding co-locations of elementary school students with high schoolers, not offering space to “very small schools,” and avoiding co-locations that would require significant construction work.
“These decisions reflect our focus on ensuring there is necessary space for school children to thrive while continuing to provide an equitable education for all students no matter of the zip code they live in,” Fariña said in a statement.
The city has not yet said exactly where the eight new Success Academy charter schools approved for public space will be located. (Two of the Success Academy approvals are one-grade expansions of elementary schools, though the city says it is looking into finding space for those schools’ middle-school grades as well.) Those final decisions will require public hearings that could grow contentious.
“We are pleased that the administration is committed to working with public charter schools and look forward to serving the families of these communities,” Moskowitz said in a statement.
The 12 rejections will trigger an appeals process that is likely to result in the city paying for the schools to operate in private facilities, which could run into the millions of dollars. The state approved one new city charter school’s request for funding last week.
The city’s announcement did not include decisions about all of the schools that have requested space. Six more Success Academy schools are “deferring” their space requests, and other schools that requested space more recently have not yet received a response.
Here is the list of approvals from the city, along with the district where they applied for space:
- Icahn Charter School 6 (expansion to grades 5-8), District 9
- Icahn Charter School 7 (expansion to grades 5-8), District 8
- Success Academy Williamsburg (expansion to grade 5), District 14 [Note: The city says it expects to offer space for grades 6-8, but that may be in another district.]
- Success Academy Cobble Hill (expansion to grade 5), District 15 [Note: The city says it expects to offer space for grades 6-8, but that may be in another district.]
- Success Academy Charter School – NYC 3, District 9
- Success Academy Charter School – NYC 4, District 27
- Success Academy Charter School – NYC 6, District 14
- Success Academy Charter School – NYC 8, District 17
- Success Academy Charter School – NYC 10, District 18
- Success Academy Charter School – NYC 11, District 23
- Success Academy Charter School – NYC 13, District 28
And the rejections:
- Neighborhood Charter School of Harlem (request for 3rd grade in 2014 only), District 5
- South Bronx Early College High School, District 7
- Brooklyn Prospect Charter School, District 15
- VOICE Charter School, District 30
- New Ventures Charter School, District 31
- Lavelle Prep Charter School, District 31
- Bedford Stuyvesant New Beginnings Charter School, District 16
- New Dawn Charter High School, District 15
- Growing Up Green, District 30
- Achievement First Charter School 10, Districts 16, 17, 19 or 23
- Achievement First Charter School 11, Districts 16, 17, 19 or 23
- Achievement First Charter School 12, Districts 16, 17, 19 or 23