Red Hook parents claim their children were deprived of the opportunity to attend a new charter school.
At a public hearing last week, the handful of parents in attendance didn’t object to the city Department of Education’s (DOE) plan to house the Summit Academy Charter School at P.S.⁄M.S. 27, Agnes Y. Humphrey School for Leadership, which will close this June due to poor performance. Instead, parents said they were unaware that the application period came and went.
“If you are closing a school, the right thing to do would be to give [those students] first option,” said Bridget Edwards, who has a child at P.S. 27, located at 27 Huntington Street.
“They knew that this school was closing. They knew that this charter school was coming,” Edwards added. “To me, it does not seem fair that you’re bringing this school here and you’re not giving the people of Red Hook first preference. It doesn’t seem right.”
Michael Duffy, executive director of the DOE’s Office of Charter Schools, said charter schools are open to all students in the district in which they’re located. In Summit’s case, that is District 15, which covers Red Hook, Park Slope and Sunset Park.
“There wouldn’t be a way for [Summit] to give preference to the people in Red Hook,” Duffy said.
The team behind Summit said they visited P.S. 27 and all other elementary schools in District 15 to publicize the application period and advertised in local newspapers.
“The first two months of publicity was just for Red Hook,” said Summit Principal Shahara Jackson.
Parents can still submit applications for Summit. However, their children will be added to the bottom of the waiting list. Presently, 100 children received letters of acceptance and another 50 are on the waiting list.
The DOE plans to open Summit in P.S. 27’s building this September. However, Jackson said the school is still searching for a private facility. She would not reveal the locations of the private buildings under consideration because negotiations are currently underway.
Wherever Summit opens this fall, it will be for a temporary stay.
©2009 Community News Group
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