The parents of I.S. 278 Marine Park Junior High School are appalled at plans to house Hebrew Language Academy Charter School in the Marine Park building.
Parents and the community wanted to expand the sixth-through-eighth-grade school into a performing arts high school but were told there was no space. Now, they may have to give up space to house the Hebrew Language Academy Charter School for a few years while a new school is built or found. Obviously people are angry.
“They are sending that charter school into 278 despite the fact the community and the school has had different plans,” said City Councilman Lewis Fidler
Worst case the school might lose its library, gym and band practice room to make space for the charter school, and there might be delays in securing a school for the academy.
I had asked a parent to write a story about whats going on:
Marine Park, which once was avoided by community residents, has been completely turned around through the leadership of Principal Debra Garafalo and her dedicated staff. The school has been lobbying to expand this into an equally successful 6 through 12 Performing Arts school and been denied by the DOE several times, citing lack of space.
Somehow, the DOE found has space to house a charter school which will start with 150 kindergarten and first grade students, adding new classes each year. Though they claim to need the space only until their own building is completed-two to three years- historically, it has been nearly impossible to dislodge charter schools once established.
The parents of PS 222, PS 277 and PS 207 are equally concerned as they wonder if the school will have room for their children. Which space will be given over for the charter schools to use: our gym, our library or perhaps the band practice room now used by our nationally acclaimed, award winning band? Many parents feel that mixing early childhood students with middle school adolescents is a recipe for disaster.
Those who feel strongly about this issue should make every effort to attend these meetings: Marine Park Civic Association, May 19 at 8:30 PM, PS 207, 4011 Fillmore Ave. and The Madison-Marine Civic Association, May 21 at 7:30 PM, Kings Chapel, 2702 Quentin Rd. (basement). It is only by a strong show of support that we will be able to keep I.S. 278 Marine Park JHS the strong community asset that it has become. I encourage you to invite as many interested parents and neighbors as possible to show the DOE that we will not just hand over our school.
Update May 27th – A hearing was held Community to Hebrew Language Charter Academy â€œHLA Go Awayâ€