City officials are proposing a possible new home for an upper West Side charter school after two earlier choices touched off an uproar among parents.The Education Department is floating the idea of placing Upper West Success - part of a network of charter schools run by ex-Councilwoman Eva Moskowitz - in the Brandeis High School campus.The idea, however, may not mollify critics."It makes no sense to put an elementary school within that high school. You cannot think of an issue I feel more strongly about," said Councilwoman Gale Brewer (D-Manhattan).
She noted the W. 84th St. campus already has five schools, including the new Frank McCourt High School.The Education Department previously suggested locating the charter school at Public Schools 145 or 165, angering parents who fear competition for space and resources.At a meeting last month, the fight grew so strained police were called, and an aide to Moskowitz was ticketed after refusing to leave…
The "Eva" Empire has expanded to the Bronx, bringing a Harlem turf war for school space into the borough.Eva Moskowitz, the City Council member-turned-charter school CEO, has opened two new academies from her charter school franchise, Success Charter Network, inside Public School 30 in Mott Haven, and PS 146 in Morrisania.And Bronx Success Academies 1 and 2 are already ruffling feathers with district school staffers."It's having the new person move in, and they decide they want to take over everything and do it their way," said PS 30 Educational Council President Belinda James.Staffers at the district schools say their new neighbors have booted them from classrooms and stairwells, while sharing the libraries, cafeterias and playgrounds…Staffers at PS 30 say Bronx Success 1 sealed off the third floor to its staff and students - even taking over a stairwell - so Success students don't mingle with their district school neighbors."We are not allowed there," said one PS 30 teacher, noting the classrooms taken over by Success were formerly used for tutoring children with special needs."Now we have to do therapy sessions in the hallway."…The network currently operates seven charter schools citywide, with plans to expand to 40."It's a takeover," charged James, "and now they've made the Bronx their next stop."
* * * * * * * * * * * * *A few weeks ago, parent leaders at Public School/Middle School 149 in Harlem suddenly discovered workmen digging up part of their schoolyard.That's the first they learned that Harlem Success Academy, a charter school sharing space in the W. 117th St. building, was paying to install a small artificial turf soccer field inside the schoolyard."This was never brought to our attention and we weren't even consulted," parent Tania Jones, a member of the school's leadership team, said Tuesday.What made the soccer project even more surprising was the sparkling new soccer field that opened last fall next door at the Dunlevy Milbank Children's Center…"Every summer we go on vacation, and when we come back in the fall, Harlem Success has grabbed more of our classrooms and space," said Sonia Hampton, president of the the PS 149 parents association. "No one asked us public school parents whether our kids wanted or needed this field, especially with Milbank field right here."…"Our children can't use the Harlem Success bathrooms, they can't share the lunchroom with them at the same time, or play with their children at recess," Hampton said. "Now they claim they want to play soccer together? I'll believe it when I see it."
The image of hundreds of black and Latino parents packed in an auditorium desperately hoping their child would "win" the lottery and get into a local charter school has assumed mythic status in media reports on education reform.
Two new two documentaries, "The Lottery" and "Waiting for Superman," made such events the emotional climax of their narratives. The former centered on Harlem Success, the charter network Schools Chancellor Joel Klein hails when he points to the demand for more charter schools.
But a Daily News review of Harlem Success financial reports suggests the network's huge backlog of applicants is the result of a carefully crafted Madison Ave.-style promotional campaign.
In the two-year period between July 2007 and June 2009, Harlem Success spent $1.3 million to market itself to the Harlem community, the group's most recent financial filings show.
Of that total, more than $1 million was spent directly on student recruitment. The campaign included posters at bus stops, Internet and radio ads, mass mailings of glossy brochures to tens of thousands of public school parents in upper Manhattan and the Bronx, and the hiring of up to 50 community residents part-time to go door-to-door in Harlem soliciting applicants.
All of this was done to fill a mere 900 seats…
In effect, Harlem Success CEO and former City Councilwoman Eva Moskowitz shelled out more than $1,100 per child between 2007 and 2009 to fill the first 900 seats in her schools…
When she launched Harlem Success four years ago with the backing of a group of hedge fund millionaires, Moskowitz vowed to expand to more than 20 schools in a few years. By generating a huge waiting list, she has been able to pressure state officials to let her open more schools.
That's why Moskowitz chose to be the marketing juggernaut of the charter school movement.
It's worked. This week, her network got multimillion grants in federal and private money.
The selling of charter schools has indeed become big business.
Eva Moskowitz, the former City Council member who founded a small chain of nonprofit charter schools, is a passionate and abrasive champion of the charter school movement.She's also making a bundle.Moskowitz, who makes no secret of her desire to create 40 charter schools across the city and run for mayor some day, raked in $371,000 in salaries in the 2006-2007 school year from organizations connected to her four schools, tax records show.Those schools, Harlem Success Academy 1, 2, 3 and 4, have an enrollment of about 1,000 pupils, from kindergarten to third grade.The nonprofit organizations connected to the schools have yet to file more recent tax returns, but Moskowitz said in an interview late Thursday she received $310,000 last year - the 2007-2008 year - $250,000 in salary and $60,000 in a bonus.That means Moskowitz, who is responsible for four schools, makes more than Chancellor Joel Klein, who gets $250,000 to run 1,400 schools.In 2006-2007, she even surpassed John Ryan, the former chancellor of the State University of New York, who earned $340,000 to manage some 70 campuses with nearly 300,000 students.Needless to say, she left your run-of-the-mill public school principal, with an average annual salary of $124,000, in the dust…
Schools Chancellor Joel Klein often lauds a small group of Harlem charter schools founded by former City Councilwoman Eva Moskowitz.But few New Yorkers are aware of the access Moskowitz has to the chancellor or the special support he has bestowed on her program, whose four schools enroll just 1,300 of the city's more than 1 million public school students.Since Moskowitz launched her first Harlem Success Academy in August 2006, Klein has attended at least 13 events for her schools, including several fund-raisers and private meetings with her, 125 e-mails between them show.The e-mails, obtained by the Daily News under a Freedom of Information request, provide a glimpse into the close relationship - one that would make most principals green with envy.They show that in addition to Klein's visits, Moskowitz:- Secured the chancellor's help last year in landing a $1 million donation from a private Los Angeles foundation.- Got Klein to intervene on her behalf in clashes she had with his subordinates.- Boasted to him of organizing parent "armies" to advocate for Mayor Bloomberg's educational policies - and of flooding politicians with thousands of pro-charter school postcards.
The News requested e-mails pertaining to the efforts of Harlem Success to get more space in school buildings. The space issue is contentious in many city neighborhoods, and Moskowitz may be the best-known advocate of more public space for charters.The e-mails clearly show Moskowitz had Klein's ear on the issue, even complaining to him about his aides…Since August 2006, the chancellor has attended several parent meetings at Harlem Success; two lottery drawings for its applicants; two poker night fund-raisers for the network at a Manhattan W hotel; an auction at Sotheby's of artwork by Harlem Success children, and several private breakfast meetings with Moskowitz."Klein hasn't been to our school in more than five years," said one principal of a high-achieving Manhattan public high school. "I've never had breakfast with him."…The e-mails also show Klein appealed to Los Angeles billionaire Eli Broad to fund Harlem Success, helping Moskowitz get $1 million from Broad's foundation…