CEC 20 unanimously passes resolution opposing Cavallaro co-location

School District 20’s Community Education Council unanimously passed a resolution opposing the co-location of Coney Island Prep Charter School in I.S. 281 Joseph B. Cavallaro at its monthly meeting held on Wednesday, October 20 at P.S./I.S. 180 in Boro Park.

Although Cavallaro is a District 21 school, it is a feeder school for District 20 elementary school students.

“More than half of the I.S. 281 zone is from District 20’s elementary schools. District 20 is one of the most overcrowded districts in the city and is desperately in need of more middle school seats,” the resolution reads.

Members noted that five new elementary schools have been opened in District 20 in the past few years to help relieve this overcrowding.

“The space in I.S. 281 is needed to help provide seats to help relieve the overcrowding in District 20 junior high schools…the space is needed to provide seats for the soon-to-be- junior high school students from our new District 20 elementary schools,” the resolution says.

The resolution concludes by calling on the Department of Education (DOE), the Panel on Education Policy (PEP) and Chancellor Dennis Walcott to reject any request by Coney Island Prep and any other charter school to be co-located in I.S. 281.

According to the DOE, I.S. 281’s building is only 81 percent utilized and if the proposal is approved, the school will remain below 100 percent utilized in the 2014-2015 school year. The DOE said that the proposal is “not expected to impact” the admissions process at either I.S. 281 or P811, a District 75 school.

“A decade ago, we inherited a broken school system that, for decades, failed to graduate even half its students. Since then, we’ve delivered historic highs in graduation rates, lowered drop-out rates by half, and given parents more school options than ever before in city history,” said Harry Hartfield, a DOE spokesperson. “A once-broken system has been transformed with new, high performing schools – and those additional options have delivered extraordinary outcomes for children. Our strategy has worked, and with this new school, that progress will continue.”

CECs 20 and 21 will hold a joint public hearing regarding this co-location on Monday, October 21 at 6 p.m. at I.S. 281, located at 8787 24th Avenue. Written comments can be sent to D21Proposals@schools.nyc.gov. Oral comments can be left at212-374-0208.

The PEP is scheduled to vote on the co-location on Wednesday, October 30 at 6 p.m. at 883 Classon Avenue.

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