O’Donnell Statement Condemning Placement of Traditional Public School Kids in Basement of Overcrowded Building

Calls for Reversal of Decision Giving Charter School Preference over Flourishing Traditional Public School

July 26, 2010 – Today, Assembly Member O’Donnell sent a letter to Mayor Bloomberg condemning a New York City Department of Education (NYC DOE) decision to move P.S. 241 Family Academy classrooms into the basement of their overcrowded school building.O’Donnell has called for an immediate reversal of the move.

In addition to its own students, the P.S. 241 Family Academy building currently houses two charter schools: the Harlem Success Academy 4 Charter School and the Opportunity Charter School.Despite the documented overcrowded conditions, this NYC DOE decision increases the number of classes offered by Harlem Success Academy and forces traditional public school students of P.S. 241 into the building’s basement.By NYC DOE’s own measure, P.S. 241 is thriving, having improved from a “D” grade in the 2008 DOE annual progress report to an outstanding “A” grade in 2009.

In response to the decision, Assembly Member O’Donnell stated, “This action by DOE is completely unacceptable.To prioritize our city’s charter students over Harlem’s traditional public school students is shameful, and I call on Mayor Bloomberg to immediately overturn this outrageous decision.All public school students deserve a quality education and an appropriate learning environment.”

O’Donnell added, “It is incomprehensible that in such an overcrowded building, NYC DOE would allow Harlem Success Academy 4 to expand its kindergarten program to six sections while pushing other students into the basement.For some unknown reason, DOE continues to create obstacles for a flourishing traditional public school.DOE seems to do everything in its power to set P.S. 241 on a course for failure.”