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Parents at Harlem Charter School File Lawsuit Against DOE

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Parents at the Success Academy Harlem Central Middle School have filed a federal lawsuit against the Department of Education for taking away the school's promised co-location.

Under the Bloomberg administration, three Success Academy charter schools were approved for co-locations with public schools for the next school year, but last month, the DOE announced that it was taking away those approvals.

Harlem Central is already operational, and the decision would displace 194 students.

The other two schools were set to open next school year.

"This is not just about the 194 scholars that we love, this is not just about Harlem Central, this is about our city, our state and our country," said Success Charter School Network Founder & CEO Eva Moskowitz.

"We firmly believe that the revocation of the co-locations is illegal. Parents were entitled to input and process and to a vote by the DOE's panel for educational policy," said Success Academy Chief Legal Officer Emily Kim.

"No one has directly contacted our school community about a concrete solution," said Harlem Success Academy Principal Andrew Malone.

In addition to the federal lawsuit, parents are filing two complaints with the state education commissioner challenging the co-location reversals.

Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña has said that efforts are underway to find space to accommodate the students.

Meanwhile, those against co-location held their own rally.

Activists, parents and teachers from two Harlem public schools said that Success Academy shouldn't be allowed to expand further on their campus.

They said that the building is already overcrowded, causing the schools to cut back programs like gym.

"When I first arrived, the charter school had just the top floor, and every year, they've been expanding, and they've been spacing us out of our space," said Dawn Thompson-Rosado, a pre-K teacher. "And now, Miss Moskowitz wants to take over the entire building."

"If they expand the charter school and they're already overcrowded, then they'll have to send half of the children, especially the special ed children, outside to do the service, and that's unfair," said parent Chandell Wilson.

Harlem Success Academy 4 has been in the building since 2008.

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