Charter schools eye 14 new spots in city

By Kelsey Durham

Success Academy Charter Schools announced this week it planned to submit applications to open more than a dozen new locations in four of the five boroughs, including four schools in Queens, in response to what the organization said is an “all-time high” in demand for charter school seats.

The group said Tuesday that it would be sending in requests to the SUNY Charter Schools Institute to open 14 new public charter schools in Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan and the Bronx that would offer thousands more seats for parents looking to enroll their children in charter schools within the next two years.

The new locations would include four schools set to open in August 2015 and 10 that would open the following summer, in August 2016.

In a news release sent out earlier this week, Success Academy noted that more than 14,400 families applied for a chance to fill fewer than 3,000 open seats for the 2014-15 school year. The organization said the 14 new schools, if established, would address a growing need for more charter schools, a demand that has increased since Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation earlier this year that would allow charter schools to be eligible for government funding.

“These families, representing more than a dozen neighborhoods, are desperate for great schools,” said Eva Moskowitz, chief executive officer of Success Academy. “Even with 14 more schools, we will not make a dent in the demand we are seeing.”

The organization said it plans to open the schools with a focus on kindergarten and first-grade, enrolling between 150 and 200 students in the first year the buildings are open and expanding to more classes in the future.

The plans include applications for four schools in Queens — one in District 27 that would open in 2015 and three in Districts 24, 28 and 30 that would open in 2016 — as well as two in Manhattan, one in the Bronx and seven in Brooklyn.

Success Academy said acceptance into the 14 locations would be based on community demand from parents who live in the districts and on the number of high schools within the district.

“[City Schools] Chancellor [Carmen] Fariña recently noted that it is important to listen to the community,” Moskowitz said in a statement. “That is what we are doing in applying for these charters, because the community is demanding more high-quality charter schools.”

Reach reporter Kelsey Durham at 718-260-4573 or by e-mail at [email protected].

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