Opponents of UWS Charter School Urge City to Halt Co-Location

Parents and city officials urged the Department of Education on Monday to halt the co-location of a charter elementary school at the Brandeis High School campus on the Upper West Side.

The Upper West Success Academy Charter School, they said, would threaten the growth of competitive high schools in District 3 where demand for seats is especially high — 18,000 students applied for 1,800 District 3 seats in the 2008-2009 school year, according to Public Advocate Bill de Blasio.

A state judge ruled against the NAACP and United Federation of Teachers last week to let 15 charter schools share buildings with traditional public schools. That includes Upper West Success, which is seeking to open in August.

De Blasio said on Monday that the co-location process should be reformed to increase input from parents and ensure that buildings can accommodate different student bodies.

"There are places where co-locations can work, but at Brandeis, the Department of Education has been deaf to the priorities and needs of the community," de Blasio said.

Parents from District 3 said that although high schools can share learning and enrichment facilities, an elementary school would need its own facilities that would prevent growth of high schools at Brandeis.

Kerri Lyon, a spokesman for Upper West Success, said that the space allocated for the charter is not currently used for instruction and would not interfere with the high schools.

But parents also questioned whether it was healthy to have disparate age groups in one building.

"Elementary students and high school students do not mix," said Carlos Ruiz, a District 3 parent.