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Parents: Hearing on Success Academy Fort Greene was a shambles — try again

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A public hearing last week on the future of a controversial Fort Greene charter school was a poorly publicized shambles that parents say only left them confused and frustrated — and now they’re demanding the city hold a do-over.

Locals were only told of the hearing on scandal-plagued Success Academy Fort Greene’s charter-renewal application on the morning of the Feb. 2 meeting, and the handful that did make it say neither the city nor school sent reps willing to answer their questions on the plan which — incorrectly, as it turns out — seemed to imply the elementary institution is adding a middle school.

“This whole process is moot and needs to be done over again,” said local dad Faraji Hannah-Jones, one of only 10 people who attended the hearing.

Success Academy’s Fort Greene location has been a hot-button issue in the area since 2015 news reports alleged it had kept a “got-to-go” list singling out difficult students and then harassed their families into leaving — resulting in several lawsuits and the local community education council demanding the charter-school network be banned from opening any new outposts in the district pending a probe into its disciplinary policies.

And yet, Community Education Council 13 only sent out an e-mail about the hearing that morning — even the principal of PS 265, where the school is co-located, said he found out that day. The voluntary panel of parents expected Success Academy to spread the word and only sent out the last-minute blast once it realized it hadn’t, according to member Ben Greene.

When parents did get the notice, they were baffled by its wording, which makes it seem like the institution is expanding with a middle school — and was of particular concern to families from PS 265, as they’re worried about losing more space.

“According to the renewal application, the school would grow to serve approximately 758 students in grades K–9,” it reads.

Department of Education and Success Academy officials later explained to this paper that the application is not expanding within PS 265 — the middle school will be in new facilities co-located with PS 297 in Williamsburg and PS 246 in Fort Greene — but their respective spokespeople at the meeting were unable to clear up the confusion.

In fact, the only person who came from Success Academy didn’t speak at all, which made it seem like the school doesn’t take locals’ concerns very seriously, said Hannah-Jones.

“I find it very interesting that the actual leadership isn’t here, I find it very insulting to a degree,” he said.

Ultimately, only four people actually took to the floor to voice their opinions on the application, including a member of community education council, who read out the panel’s previous resolution as a reminder of parents’ worries about the school.

But unless the city agrees to a second hearing, Thursday’s meeting is the only chance residents will have to share their thoughts on the charter renewal.

A Department of Education spokesman refused to say whether it will consider holding another hearing.

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at lgill@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her on Twitter @laurenk_gill
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

John Babbaenuex from Fort Greene says:
Scandal plagued?

The "got to go list" does not indicate a school plagued with scandal. The readers don't need hyperbole, they need FACTS
Feb. 6, 2017, 6:38 pm
Joey from Clinton Hills says:
every school should have a "got to go" list for the benefit of the other students.

Folks send their kids to Success for an intensive education. Students that are distractions should be bounced.
Feb. 7, 2017, 1:45 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Charter schools are nothing but a joke. If a student does bad, they get sent back to the public schools while nobody tries to help them. Another thing I hate about charters schools especially Success Academy is that they want their spaces to be publicly funded despite not being opened to the public to start with. I don't mind them opening up another location, but I just want them to pay for it themselves. Meanwhile, their so-called lottery system is rigged while only those with big money always get their children in due to that. Every time I think of that film, Waiting for Superman, I feel that it should retitled to Waiting for a Joke, because I doubt that Superman would ever be selective in who he helps let alone what this has to do with education to begin with. One other thing, there have been studies found that most charter schools perform either the same or even worse than public schools do, but many charter school supporters tend to deny that.
Feb. 7, 2017, 4:03 pm
Taylor Kassban from Fort Greene says:
It's time for parents of bad students or for the so called "community leaders" to quit ——ing about charter schools. If you, as a parent or a "community leader", did terrible job instilling discipline in your child, don't expect charter school to do it for you! Let good students study in peace, let bad students get ready for a non-productive life somewhere else. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with "got to go lists". If a kid can't do as told, then a charter school is obviously not an appropriate place for him/her.
March 7, 2017, 12:35 pm

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