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As part of the State law extending mayoral control of the schools, the NYC Department of Education (DOE) cannot close, move, or share public school space without a public process designed to ensure accountability. Instead, the DOE must disclose the impact that any proposal will have on all affected communities, receive public comments, and then put the proposal to a vote by the DOE’s Panel for Educational Policy. In 2010, AFC filed appeals on behalf of parents to the New York State Commissioner of Education challenging the vote to expand the co-location of PAVE Academy Charter School with P.S. 15 Patrick F. Daly in Brooklyn, and the vote to expand the co-location of Girls Preparatory Charter School with P.S. 94 and P.S. 188 in Manhattan.
P.S. 94 is a school within District 75, which serves students with the most severe disabilities. The appeal asserted that the DOE failed to adequately assess and disclose the impact of the Girls Prep expansion, such as the likely the disruption for students with autism, the loss of space in the cafeteria and gymnasium, the reduced availability of rooms for the provision of related services, and an increase in the occupancy of the building beyond what is safe. In addition, the appeal challenged the DOE’s position that District 75 schools such as P.S. 94 were not subject to the co-location disclosure requirements. The Commissioner annulled the DOE’s decision to give more public school space to Girls Prep, ruling that “District 75 schools are public schools that are located within the city school district, and Education Law §2590-h(2-a) does not except them from their application. Accordingly, DOE’s contention that District 75 schools should be excluded is not supported by the plain language of the statute.” The Commissioner upheld the DOE’s vote to expand the co-location of PAVE Academy Charter School with P.S. 15.
Following these challenges, the DOE issued new regulations setting forth the disclosure requirements for co-locations. AFC issued fact sheets on the requirements for co-locations and on the procedures for appeals of co-locations.