Elected officials helped kill a plan to open three new charter schools in existing public schools or other city-owned buildings — after hearing fierce opposition from local parents.
Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson — who last week spoke at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new DREAM Charter High School in Mott Haven — suggested Tuesday that her hand was forced against the planned Success Academy in Williamsbridge.
“Parents of School District 11 spoke to us loud & clear. The deep rooted history of disinvestment at the Richard R. Green Campus must be recognized. So much progress has been made,” she tweeted.
A City Hall insider also cited “a lot of pushback” from community members opposed to the new charter schools.
“They vote and they hold folks accountable,” the source said.
Schools Chancellor David Banks’ unexpected withdrawal of the proposal came even though Mayor Eric Adams packed the board in charge of the decision with pro-charter allies.
Queens Borough President Donovan Richards and Council Speaker Adrienne Adams (D-Queens) both opposed the proposal, with Richards saying that putting Success Academy charter schools in the Springfield Gardens Educational Campus and Catherine & Count Basie Middle School 72 was a “non-starter” from the beginning.
“Students across Southeast Queens have been forced to endure years of systemic disinvestment in their schools, punctuated by a seemingly endless cycle of co-locations that further devalues the education our children receive,” Richards said in a statement.
Adrienne Adams, whose district includes MS 72 — named after the jazz legend and his wife, both of whom lived in St. Albans before they died in the 1980s — also issued a statement that said the charter schools “would have impeded the academic progress of our students…who have faced decades of under-investment.”
Veteran political consultant Hank Sheinkopf called the collapse of the charter school plan a political “win-win” for Mayor Adams because it was also opposed by the powerful United Federation of Teachers union.
Last year, Gov. Kathy Hochul signed a law that expanded the size of the Panel for Educational Policy, which decides whether charter schools can use space in Department of Education Buildings, from 15 to 23 voting members, with a majority — 13 — appointed by the mayor.