Lawsuits target charters in Brooklyn

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A last ditch effort to stop a charter school from squeezing into the same building as two other Coney Island schools is going before a judge next week.

A lawsuit filed by parents at Intermediate School 303 is the last chance they have to keep Coney Island Preparatory Public Charter School out of the building on West Ave.

“This (building) has two schools in it already,” said Chris Owens, executive director of Advocates for Justice. “That’s a very big deal”

The suit is one of two co-location cases that are on the court calendar for next Thursday. Parents for Parkside Preparatory Academy are also trying to keep Explore Charter School from moving into their Parkside Ave. building.

Lawyers for IS 303 parents will argue that an independent study done by the education think tank 21st Century Fund found the school’s unique model – where teachers rather than students change classes – will have to be abandoned if the charter school moves in.

The teachers-change-classrooms strategy helped earn IS 303 an “A” rating from the city Department of Education last spring.

“They were able to get more students to spend more time on task and it was making a difference academically,” said Mary Filardo, 21st Century School Fund executive director. “They are going to lose the ability to use the school in that manner.”

Coney Island Prep has been holding classes for their 270 students in designated classrooms on the first, second and third floors of the building since late August.

“If (Education Dept. officials) believe that placing Coney Island Prep in this building would negatively impact IS 303 or (the) Rachel Carsons (School) they wouldn’t do it,” said Jacob Mnookin, Coney Island Prep. charter school executive director. “Those are their schools too.”

DOE officials declined to comment.


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