Success Academy parents sue city in charter school fight

N.J. Burkett reports one school is suing the city
March 10, 2014 3:26:59 PM PDT
In the next chapter of New York City's war over charter schools, parents at one school plan filed a federal lawsuit Monday.

"Public school failed him once; I will not have him go through that again," said Tisha Hatch, a charter school parent.

Tisha Hatch says her son deserves better. Robert Loveless is one of hundreds of New York City charter school students who face an uncertain future.

Monday, one of New York's leading charter school networks announced a series of lawsuits against the city.

The lawsuit is intended to expand Harlem Central Charter School and to locate two new charter schools in Queens and Lower Manhattan.

"These 194 beautiful and intelligent children with hardworking parents, they are outperforming some of the wealthiest suburban schools," said Eva Moscowitz, of the Success Academy.

Fewer than 10% of New York's public school children attend charter schools. But, they serve some of the city's most disadvantaged neighborhoods. They are publicly funded, privately operated, and overwhelmingly non-union.

The city's new mayor opposes charter schools, many of which operate rent free in existing city buildings. But, has nonetheless renewed 36 of the 45 co-located schools.

"I think any judge who looks at it is going to see that we were very balanced and objective. Lawsuits are a part of public life, but we feel good about the decisions we make," Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

Charter school parents disagree.

"A lot of the schools in my district are not doing well and I wanted something more. I wanted my child to go to college. I don't want college to be a privilege, I want it to be a priority in my family," said Shamona Kirkland, a charter school parent.