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Parents Sue Success Adademy’s Eva Moskowitz

February 13, 2012

Eva Moskowitz

In an effort to halt the creation of the third New York City branch of Eva Moskowitz’s Success Academy Charter School, angry moms and dads from several public middle and high schools are suing Moskowitz, saying that her mini-education empire “unlawfully circumvented” state education rules to open up a branch in their community.

The parents claim that the charter school used its political connections, (Eva Moskowitz is a former Manhattan Councilwoman) and transgressed state law by switching school districts to get space in the affluent Cobble Hill area of Brooklyn instead of in more  impoverished neighborhoods.

“They’re not playing by the rules,” said Coleen Mingo, whose son attends the School for International Studies, which shares space in the school building with the Brooklyn School for Global Studies.

“They’ve left us no other choice but to sue.”

Apparently the Success Academy won approval from the State University of New York to “open, operate and maintain” a new charter school in Districts 13 and 14. Those districts include the neighborhoods of Downtown, Brooklyn Heights, Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Williamsburg, Greenpoint, Prospect Heights, and part of Park Slope. Cobble Hill is in district 15 and is not included in the approval terms.

Parents say it is immaterial whether the city granted Moskowitz’s school permission to open, since the state never granted “Brooklyn Success 3” permission to open in Cobble Hill.

“It’s an injustice,” said Cobble Hill mom Jacqueline Johnson, who is one of more than two dozen charter school opponents filing the lawsuit. “This is an instance of stealing from the poor to give to the rich.”

The lawsuit states that in order to switch districts the Success Charter Network must submit a new proposal which gives District 15 “45 days’ notice” and presents “an analysis of community support.”

A representative of Success Charter Network defended the school’s position, claiming there is a lot of support for it in Cobble Hill. Jenny Sedlis, a director for Success, said there is already a waiting list of parents that want to send their children to the charter school.

“It’s unfortunate that a few adults intent on protecting the status quo would sue to sacrifice the possibility of a brighter education and future for hundreds of children,” Sedlis said. “We will fight this lawsuit vigorously.”


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