A Hebrew−themed charter school will not be housed in I.S. 278, Marine Park Junior High School — but it could still open in a local public school.
Contrary to published reports, the Hebrew Language Academy Charter School (HLA) remains interested in securing space in a public school in School District 22, which spans Mill Basin, Bergen Beach, Manhattan Beach, Marine Park, Gerritsen Beach and parts of Midwood, Flatbush and Sheepshead Bay.
In a statement, Sara Berman, chair of HLA’s board of directors, said, “We have asked the Department of Education to work with us to quickly find an alternative site – either within an existing public school or a private building – that would enable us to open the high−quality school we have been planning by this August.”
According to the city Department of Education (DOE), HLA is currently searching for a private facility to call home. But if one cannot be found, HLA could end up in another public school building.
“We are not actively looking at any additional public space but if the private facilities don’t work out, public space is not off the table,” a DOE spokesperson said.
The HLA team asked the DOE to nix its proposal to house HLA in I.S. 278 because of the Marine Park community’s overwhelming opposition to the plan.
“After the public hearing on Tuesday, no matter how much we believe that we would be good neighbors, it was obvious that we could not accomplish our goals at I.S. 278 in Marine Park,” Berman said.
At that meeting, 700 parents, students, teachers and community residents protested the plan. They held signs and repeated chants with a single message — “We will, we will stop you!”
Marine Park parents were satisfied with HLA’s decision.
“I’m ecstatic, as is the community,” said Dr. Mardie Sheiken−Henry, whose daughter attends the sixth grade at I.S. 278. “How can you ignore 6,441 signatures on a petition?”
Parents now hope the DOE continues with its proposed plan of opening a performing arts high school in I.S. 278’s building.
©2009 Community News Group
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