Indignation Voiced at Klein’s Decision to Expand Girls Prep

By Stephanie Lam
Stephanie Lam
Stephanie Lam
August 9, 2010 Updated: October 1, 2015

Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer said the Department of Education is discriminating against special needs children by reducing Public School 94 classroom space to expand Girls Prep. (Margaret Wollensak/The Epoch Times)
Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer said the Department of Education is discriminating against special needs children by reducing Public School 94 classroom space to expand Girls Prep. (Margaret Wollensak/The Epoch Times)
NEW YORK—Elected officials, education advocates, and parents of students at Manhattan’s special needs school, Public School 94, gathered in front of the Manhattan Municipal Building Monday to call on the Department of Education (DOE) to withdraw its decision to expand Girls Preparation Charter School at the expense of less classes in Public School 94.

“What you [DOE Chancellor Joel Klein] are telling disabled kids and kids with autism in this school is that they don’t matter,” said Councilwoman Rosie Mendez.

On Aug. 2, New York State Education Commissioner David Steiner ordered the DOE to halt the expansion of Girls Preparatory Charter School, but Klein announced two days later that he would use emergency powers to overturn Steiner’s ruling and continue with the expansion of Girls Preparation Charter School, according to the New York Times.

The Department of Education did not return a request for comment as of press time. They are expected to release a statement

“Claiming there is an ‘emergency’ in order to get around the state’s ruling and reduce the size of this school is unfair to students and their families,” said Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez.

Girls Preparation Charter School and Public School 94 share the same building along with Public School 188. In order to provide space for Girls Preparation Charter School to expand, the DOE decided to close down two grades in Public School 94, despite, according to president of the Citywide District 75 Council Thomas Ryan Jr., the special needs schools’ increasing enrollment of children diagnosed with autism.

Manhattah Borough President Scott Stringer said DOE representatives met with him on Aug. 4, saying that they had “no plan to hurt these [special needs] kids or move these kids.” But, Stringer continued “within 24 hours later, they invoked emergency power, again going after [autistic] children.”

“This issue couldn’t be more important, and it couldn’t be more tragic that we have to stand here today,” Sen. Daniel Squadron said.

“The Department of Education has ignored the needs of our students, has ignored the input of our community, and unfortunately, for the Department of Education, some of what they are doing seems to violate state law,” Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh added.