Eva Moskowitz is making sure that Mayor Bill de Blasio’s charter school problems aren’t going away.
De Blasio said one month ago that he wanted to ease tensions between the city and the charter school sector, starting with three Success Academy charter schools whose co-location plans he scrapped earlier in the year. But Moskowitz, CEO of Success Academy, brought their fights to the forefront again Wednesday by claiming that the city was dragging its feet—even as the city claimed it had offered space for two of the three schools.
“We do not understand what the delays have been,” Moskowitz said at at press conference outside a building that was supposed to house one of the disputed co-locations.
De Blasio has sought to put the charter school debates behind him after a multimillion dollar advertising blitz launched by Moskowitz’s allies led to sagging poll numbers. But the de Blasio administration pushed back on Wednesday. In a statement, Deputy Mayor Anthony Shorris criticized Moskowitz’s tactics as little more than a political stunt.
“This is more about politics and other agendas that it is about children,” Shorris said, alluding to a long-running political feud between de Blasio and Moskowitz that dates back to their years in the City Council.
City Hall officials insisted privately that negotiations were moving along. They said the city had found private spaces for two of the three Success schools, and that both sides were working out what renovations were needed and other terms of the lease.
One of the city’s proposals would place a Success middle school, called Harlem Central, in a school building owned by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese about a mile away from P.S. 149, where it originally planned to expand. De Blasio nixed that co-location because he said it would have disrupted a special needs program.
Moskowitz said she’s willing to take the space and abandon her pursuit of co-located space at P.S. 149. But she said that she and Success parents were getting impatient. Moskowitz said she wanted final details of the city’s proposals to be ironed out before the State Education Department decides if de Blasio’s co-location reversals were legal—even though that decision is unrelated to the logistical considerations being worked out now.
“We need to move faster,” Moskowitz said.
It’s not the first time that Success officials complained about the pace of negotiations.
Success threatened to take the status of its negotiations public two weeks ago, but backed off after Chalkbeat asked City Hall about the issue. Both sides quickly said that talks had resumed.