Mayor Bill de Blasio was met with several questions from middle school-aged kids about a permanent location for a Success Academy middle school in southeast Queens during Wednesday’s town hall meeting at August Martin High School.
“You promised the Success Academy a middle school, why haven’t you given us the space?” Grace Lee said.
De Blasio quickly answered Lee’s question by saying that the Department of Education has found a space for the school. He turned to Karin Goldmark, the DOE’s deputy chancellor, who said that they have identified a space that used to be a school and can accommodate 500 students. The space is located at 125-18 Rockaway Blvd. in South Jamaica.
But some people in the crowd shouted that the space “isn’t permanent” and that it would only be available “for two years.”
Goldmark then said that the space is “long-term.”
“So it is permanent,” de Blasio added.
A spokesperson for Success Academy questioned whether the space is adequate and said they will examine the school next week.
“While there are many public school buildings with space available which would be far closer to our families, we intend to examine this option in good faith to see whether it can meet the needs of our families,” Ann Powell, executive vice president of Public Affairs and Communications at Success Academy, told QNS.
The mayor’s office, in turn, told QNS that Success Academy is projected to enroll approximately 200 students for the fall, and they’re confident the space will “meet the need for at least two years” as they monitor enrollment.
They added that the site has been vetted by the DOE’s Division of School Planning and Development.
Additionally, the mayor’s office said that state law requires that the city help pay rent for charter schools when they lease private space and are encouraging Success Academy to move forward with the space “in order to take advantage of rental assistance.”
But Success Academy’s families and educators have been waiting for more than two years for a permanent school.
In October, hundreds of fourth-grade students, their parents and teachers held a rally on the steps of City Hall in protest of de Blasio’s delayed response in identifying a permanent middle school location in Southeast Queens.
And back in September, more than 4,000 parents, students and educators rallied for a permanent school at Roy Wilkins Park in St. Albans.