Co-Location

Mayor De Blasio's decision to reverse three charter school co-location decisions has understandably occupied a lot of media attention this morning. The city also denied three district school plans which had been approved in October.  As you read this news, keep in mind that the Governor, not the Mayor, decides whether to approve the ICS application.

The Mayor explained that “We set out consistent, objective criteria to protect school communities from unworkable outcomes,” and wound up “rejecting those proposals that do not meet our values.”  ICS has not seen the criteria, but we trust they will be spelled out in the coming days.

Clearly many parents are angry. Some wanted the Mayor to reverse more charter school co-locations. On the other hand, Success Academy, the charter network directly affected by these decisions, plans to sue the city.

There is a larger policy debate about how charter schools are defined. The ICS Board and I believe that charter schools are public schools, run with tax levy money, entitled to public space.

Nonetheless, our plan is to identify non-DoE space for ICS. There are a variety of reasons, most of them practical, behind our decision.

Several ICS Trustees and I will be attending a real estate facilities conference next week; we are already working with building owners and real estate brokers to identify realistic options; we remain hopeful that if SUNY approves our charter we will be able to welcome our first Kindergarteners and first graders in September 2015

We are watching the broader attitude of the new Mayoral administration towards education reform and the role of charters closely. We are disappointed that this important debate has become personalized, a trend which is exacerbated by media coverage that often reduces complex problems to "he said, she said" stories.

But in the short term we're focused on the critical path for our approval, which includes practical, reasonable real estate plans.