As Coney Island Prep Charter School continues to prosper as a successful alternative elementary school, they are outgrowing their present accommodations in a cramped community center and are seeking to re-locate to IS 303.
Parents Not Pleased
But parents of students at IS 303 are against the move, saying that it will disrupt the great strides the school has been making since it implemented state-mandated changes in 2004. Today IS 303 is earning excellent grades on recent New York progress reports, a remarkable feat for what was once a school with serious problems.
If Coney Prep is denied access into IS 303, it will have to send its incoming class of fifth graders to different schools, and the already crowded school body of 270 students will be forced to remain in their present location, an eight room community center in the Carey Gardens public housing project, where it is presently so crowded that the students must eat their lunches at their desks.
“It’s painful to even think about staying. Our kids deserve access to a traditional public school building,” said Jacob Mnookin, executive director of the charter school.
IS 303 Herbert S Eisenberg School is located between Brighton Beach and Coney Island and is the educational home to 750 students, including Rachel Carson High School and another school for students with special needs. Parents there say the school is vulnerable and any additional stress, such as adding another school onto the premises, can reverse all the gains the school has made in the past seven years.
Parents Fighting for Their Kids
“We’re fighting for the future of our kids,” said Saeed Butt, whose son, Umer, is in seventh grade at IS 303. “It will ruin our school if the charter moves in.”
Other schools in New York, such as Brandeis High School in Manhattan and PS 9 in Prospect Heights have also tried to block similar plans to move other charter schools into their premises, but failed.
Natalie Ravitz, a spokeswoman for the Department of Education said that the DOE will examine the appeal of the parents of the Coney Prep and continue with their plan.
“We believe Coney Island Prep offers an additional high-quality middle school option for our families,” said Ravitz, adding that the charter school has more than 200 families on its waiting list.