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Parents Rally Against Lawsuit That Threatens Charter Schools

Charter school proponents rally at City Hall on Jan. 7, 2014. (credit: courtesy of Families for Excellent Schools)

Charter school proponents rally at City Hall on Jan. 7, 2014. (credit: courtesy of Families for Excellent Schools)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — If successful, a lawsuit filed by city officials and activists would be a setback for countless students who attend charter schools, some parents say.

As WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb reported, those parents and advocates from the group Families for Excellent Schools gathered at City Hall on Tuesday calling for Public Advocate Letitia James and City Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito, the front-runner to become the next council speaker, to drop their lawsuit to block 42 charter schools from sharing building space with traditional public schools.

Some view the lawsuit as an attempt to strangle the charter schools, some of which rely on “co-location” to exist because they lack space of their own.

Mayor Bill de Blasio also has been a critic of charter schools and traditional schools sharing facilities.

Charter schools are privately run, publicly funded schools.

Damisa Henry said the lawsuit could prevent Success Academy Crown Heights — a charter school her daughter attends — from expanding beyond its present level of second grade, forcing her daughter to leave.

Henry invited elected officials “to come and visit our school, see what you are trying to take away. You will see kids racing up the stairs of the school so excited to shake the principal’s hand and get to school that they forget to give the parents a kiss goodbye.”

Another mother said if the lawsuit is successful her two daughters will have to leave Girls Prep Bronx Elementary School, where they are thriving.

“Why should this (lawsuit) dictate the level of education my children receive?” she said. “Why should elected officials who claim to represent our communities want to prevent great schools from growing?”

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