Statement of Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh Regarding the City Department of Education’s Intent to Proceed Under “Emergency” Provisions of the School Governance Law with Expansion of Girls Prep Charter School and Reduction of Space for P94
August 6, 2010
New York, NY – In response to the New York City Department of Education’s recent announcement that it will proceed under certain “emergency” provisions in the State school governance law with its plan to expand Girls Prep Charter School and reduce the space allocated to P94 in the PS 188 building on the Lower East Side, State Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh, whose district includes the schools, released the following statement.
“Earlier this week the State ruled that the New York City Department of Education has failed to meet its legal obligations to consider the needs of the P94 school community and to publicly disclose its plans for addressing these needs before reducing the space allocated to P94 in order to accommodate the expansion of Girls Prep Charter School. The Department’s mishandling of this matter and its announcement that it will nonetheless proceed with its plans are troubling on a number of levels. “It is remarkable that the Department could so blatantly disregard the provisions of the school governance law we enacted just last year after extensive negotiations between the legislature and the City of New York. Moreover, the State’s ruling suggests that the Department has argued that its obligation under the law to consider the educational impact of its decisions on ‘any public school’ somehow does not apply to its treatment of schools like P94 that serve thousands of students with disabilities all over New York. Fortunately, the State unequivocally rejected this assertion. “Finally, notwithstanding its failure to follow the law, the Department has declared that an ‘emergency’ requires it to go forward with its plans, without indicating the legal basis for its decision, the nature of the emergency, the scope of the action necessary to respond to the emergency, or any intent to address the deficiencies identified in the State’s ruling. “It is clear that the Department’s actions have created unnecessary hardship and uncertainty for the families and school communities involved. We must work harder now and in the future to ensure that our schools are open to the input that families deserve and the law requires, and that all our students are treated fairly and offered an appropriate, high-quality education.”