Success Academy secures space in Williamsburg, Cobble Hill

Success! Charter chain convinced city to give it middle-school space, honcho says

The Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

A powerful charter school chain has successfully pressured the city into giving it space to set up new middle schools and fifth-grade classrooms within public-school buildings in Williamsburg and Cobble Hill, an executive with the company said.

Success Academy announced the city had reached a deal moments before the company was set to hold a protest on the steps of city hall on Thursday decrying what it claimed was the city’s cold-shoulder response to months of inquiries. A Success exec hailed what she said was a break in the standoff.

“We are feeling positive now that there will be a good outcome,” said Ann Powell, Success Academy’s senior managing director of public affairs.

Success is asking for space to open fifth-grade classrooms in fall of 2016 for about 80 kids in both Williamsburg and Cobble Hill. Company administrators say they applied for the expansion in July and worried that a lack of response from the city would mean that kids who have attended Success schools since kindergarten would be left with nowhere to go.

“Getting space and making it ready does not happen overnight,” Powell said. “We need as much time as we can get.”

The city said that it has no intention of shutting out the charter school company, even though many public-school parents resent that the programs take space and resources from their kids. The head of the education department said Success got no special treatment.

“As we have with all charter operators seeking space, we have been engaged in good-faith discussions to reach outcomes that are fair and work for all our kids,” chancellor Carmen Farina said. “We treat every proposal equally, and maintain the same priorities when reviewing every school’s request to ensure co-locations maximize space to provide an excellent education for all children.”

Both the company and the city declined to say where the new Success facilities will be placed.

Williamsburg’s JHS 50 was the site of a battle over Success Academy’s attempt to move in an elementary school, during which activists argued that the chain was only marketing to affluent white people. Success ultimately won that fight.

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her at
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

Reasonable discourse

Charles from Bk says:
Oh no! Charter schools are making the school system better. Everyone run!
Dec. 20, 2014, 9:53 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Charter schools are nothing but a joke. There have been studies found that they actually perform no different or even worse than public schools. Unless your parents are very rich, the only other way in them is to win a lottery system where your child's chance is one in a million. Mayor Bill de Blasio was right to make them pay rent especially when they barely even serve the public. The only reason why Cuomo sided with Success Academy was mainly because of the campaign contributions he was given from Moskowitz, and you can't bite the hand that feeds you. I hope that de Blasio and Farina abolish those unfair evaluations that Cuomo wants or even Bloomberg's idea to close the so-called failing public schools to only let the charter schools take over. On a side note, I'm no shill for Mulgrew or the UFT, so please don't accuse me as being such or I will call you for slander on that, plus I could easily say that anyone who makes such a claim could be working for the charter schools.
Dec. 21, 2014, 5:14 pm
Ed from Bay Ridge says:
For the first time since the Big Bang: I agree with Tal.

Charters perform no better than public schools -- esp when you acknowledge their cherrypicking of students (a la religious schools, which can force out whom they will) -- and they surely *should* pay rent.
Dec. 21, 2014, 7:59 pm
Joe from Brooklyn says:
Tal and Ed: Maybe you're right that charters in general do not perform better than public schools in general, but Success does perform better than traditional public schools.

Why would you support a system that forces children to go to a district school - even if that school is poor? Charters allow for a choice that works best for parents. It may not be the choice you would make for your children - but why would you want to dictate what is right for others?
Dec. 22, 2014, 1:56 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Joe, never did I imply that I am against the existence of charter schools. I just want them to be inclusive rather than exclusive, which is what they are right now. BTW, those running them can dictate who can or can't go to them. Keep in mind that public schools can't exclude any students let alone expel failing ones, which is what charter schools do a lot. Another thing is what are these poor schools you speak of? This sounds like you are pushing the propaganda Bloomberg and his cronies on that in their claims to closing them only to allow their charter friends like Moskowitz to take over them at no cost. As for de Blasio, he just wanted the owners of charter schools to pay rent for not actually serving the public, but he wasn't for getting rid of them. Also, if Moskowitz has the money to make commercials defending her schools, I don't know why she can't just pay the rent for the space her schools take? More importantly, I would support charter schools if they just threw out the lottery system and allow anyone who wants to get in without any issues rather than make it like some contest.
Dec. 22, 2014, 5:10 pm
Joe from Brooklyn says:
Tal, now you've changed your argument. First, you state that charters do not perform better than public schools in general. But, when I point out that Success does out perform all of the public schools you ignore that point.

Next, you throw a bunch of arguments in the mix that I never made such as closing schools. I did say that there are many parents who are left with poor performing schools as their only choice. It is not hard to find those schools - a quick google search will suffice.

The demand for charters makes the lottery necessary. There simply are not enough seats in these schools. Parents are hungry for something better to offer their kids. Schools like Success offer that alternative.

Why would you be against that?
Dec. 22, 2014, 9:27 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Joe, education isn't something that can be simply explained in a textbook. Even the documentary Waiting for Superman doesn't state the entire story. My point about charter schools is on why they don't just accept anyone who enrolls rather than just using a lottery system that most of the students who try to come don't make it. Keep in mind that public schools can't selectively choose who can attend their classes and who can't where this is the case for charter schools. As for poor performing public schools, is it really the fault of the students or the teachers that it's doing so bad? If you asked me, I say that it is the students as well as their parents, because education should start at home, plus there are students that refuse to do their homework and/or study for tests yet the teachers get blamed for that. One other myth to debunk about the UFT is that they don't support the status-quo on the Board of Education, they support something known as the Sunset Clause, and I suggest you look that rather than vilifying them as being against change. More importantly, most charter school supporters have never answered to why some of their owners such as Moskowitz deserves to make a lot more than what Farina, who is the chancellor of the DOE for NYC, can make per student. The original purpose of the charter schools was to help students who really doing bad in education, but that's not the case with many of them after hedge fund managers such as Moskowitz made them selective and only allow top students only while throwing out anyone who does bad.
Dec. 23, 2014, 5 pm
The Chooch from The Bohemian Magic Show says:
The parents of gentrified Brooklyn demand better schools for their kids. They're paying the real estate taxes, so they have the pull. You can't put those kids into a dumbed-down system in the name of "fairness". We upping up the hood, and that includes the schools. We're not going to handicap yuppy children just because somebody got butt hurt.
Dec. 23, 2014, 11:29 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I would really like to know what exactly makes public schools bad. For some reason, I'm not hearing facts but rather personal attacks at them. Keep in mind that public schools have to accept everyone who resides in their district, while charter schools can be very selective. Perhaps, that's reason why charter schools may seem to be better. More importantly, I do find it an irony to call it fairness when charter schools can selectively pick who can enter and who can't. If they are really open to the public, then they should abolish the lottery system and allow for anyone who want to get in to be there. Another thing is that Moskowitz has a history of preventing her schools from being audited, which makes me feel suspicious that she is hiding something. I say that if she continues to do this, her schools should be forced to lose their tax exempt status for resisting audits. Seriously, she wouldn't be doing this if she had nothing to hide. As for claiming that they make neighborhoods better is false as well as that has been found to be nothing more than a myth.
Dec. 24, 2014, 5:03 pm
The Chooch from The Bohemian Magic Show says:
What makes private schools and charter schools better than public schools is parent involvement, parents who are literate and have books in their homes and make their kids to their homework. On the other hand, if you're illiterate, on welfare, on crack, it is unlikely your kids will get into a charter school.
Dec. 24, 2014, 5:55 pm
Evelyn Rodriguez from Cobble Hill says:
There is a recent 3rd 'makeover' of schoolyard at the Cobble Hill school complex @ 284 Baltic St , this time, to convert it into a 'sports complex.' All trees planted 2nd time around (a few years ago) were yanked today and piled up in a distant corner. So very sad. Local Community Board #6 (just 1 block away on Baltic Street) was contacted a month ago. The drilling and assault to Nature continues. Another tax shelter??? To Hell with 'peaceful enjoyment' for adjacent neighbors and anyone trying to enjoy a quiet lunch in the garden area seating of nearby restaurants. With no buffer space between the schoolyard and neighbors' backyards, there will be new challenges to coexist.

Evelyn Rodriguez
H 212-677-3548
May 13, 2015, 12:21 am

Comments closed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

Keep it local!

Stay in touch with your community. Subscribe to our free newsletter: