Peninsula Prep Continues to Plan for the Fall Semester
Friday, May 25, 2012 - 11:38 AM
A Queens charter school that the city has been trying to close for months won an extension of its temporary restraining order on Thursday, allowing it to remain open until the judge rules on the case — something the school’s lawyer, Kevin Quinn, doesn’t expect will happen for months.
Until the judge, Diccia T. Pineda-Kirwan, reaches a decision, Mr. Quinn said, the school, Peninsula Preparatory Academy Charter School in the Rockaways Penninsula, will keep making plans for the fall term.
“Everything moves forward as if we’re open until the judge makes a decision,” Mr. Quinn said.
The city announced in January that it intended to close Peninsula Preparatory after it had received a grade of C on four progress reports; many people saw that as a sign that the Education Department would be holding charter schools to higher standards.
But Peninsula Preparatory won a temporary restraining order in March, halting its closing until the court hearing on Thursday. Mr. Quinn doesn’t expect a final decision before July, he said.
Because the city must write the school a check on July 1 to cover its operating expenses for the fall, Mr. Quinn added, Peninsula Preparatory will most likely remain open next year even if Judge Pineda-Kirwan rules against the school. “My hope is” that the Education Department “would understand the situation and allow the school to continue regardless of the decision,” he said.
Peninsula was one of four charter schools the city flagged for closing this year, along with Williamsburg Charter High School, Believe Northside Charter High School and Believe Southside Charter High School. Williamsburg Charter also won a temporary restraining order last month.
At Thursday’s hearing, Mr. Quinn argued that the city had applied an unfair standard to Peninsula Preparatory by allowing charter schools that had performed worse to remain open.
The nearby public schools in Far Rockaway are also doing worse than Peninsula Preparatory, Mr. Quinn said. Their closing, he said, would leave students in the area with fewer good choices.
The school’s principal, Ericka Wala, was not immediately available for comment, but she echoed the sentiment in an earlier interview with SchoolBook. “Other schools are having the same struggles as us,” she said. “We outperformed 9 of the 10 schools our students are zoned for.”