Charter crunch: Second school approved for PS 114

A new charter school moving into PS 114 in Canarsie could take up the building’s best classrooms, and some fear the new tenant will be the final nail in the coffin of the troubled elementary school.

The city quietly approved the neighborhood’s first charter school last week — completing a deal it worked out with the community last month that would keep failing PS 114 open as long as the privately run and publicly funded charter could move in.

But some say the charter will get first dibs at recently refurbished sections of the century-old Remsen Avenue building — putting PS 14 in an even tougher spot.

“We have to fight for the new space and the most resources,” city Councilman Chalres Barron (D–Canarsie) told this paper Friday, claiming that he was trying to get the Department of Education to tell him which classrooms the new Explore Excel charter school will take up.

But the city has been tight-lipped about its plans for the building, saying it was too early to determine just where the Explore Excel will be located inside the building near Glenwood Road.

PS 114 received a “D” on its latest performance review and was scheduled to be phased out by the city, but parents, teachers, and politicians managed to get a stay of execution when they pointed out that a wayward principal the city hired was the one who drove the school into the ground, leaving it more than $180,000 in debt.

The city allowed the school to stay open, albeit with no additional city funding to help overcome its problems.

That could make living with a charter school within it’s own doors an even greater challenge.

“PS 114 needs to expand and grow,” said Barron. “It can’t be cramped in by a charter school that’s probably not going to do any better than they will.”

But Explore Excel, which will be open to children that attend PS 114, thinks it will do fine in its new digs — and may ease PS 114’s burden by taking some students off that school’s hands.

“It will be interesting to see how many [parents] choose to enroll their student at Excel now that they’ve been given the option,” said Explore Excel spokeswoman Liz Pawlson

The two schools will be dueling it out come September, when Explore Excel will enroll 224 children in its kindergarten to third-grade classes for what will eventually become a kindergarten through eighth-grade school.

Explore Excel has two locations — in Crown Heights and Flatbush — already teaching classes.


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