By Patrick Hedlund
DNAinfo News Editor
LOWER EAST SIDE — After a battle over classroom space forced Lower East Side charter school Girls Prep to move its middle-school classes for the year, the school is hoping to expand under a plan to relocate to an East Village school building next school year, education officials said Tuesday.
The plan, discussed with Community Board 3's education committee, would see the all-girls charter school's fifth- and sixth-grade classes move from their current Astor Place address to the East Side Community School on East 11th Street for the 2011-12 school year.
The relocation includes the planned addition of a seventh-grade class next school year, and the addition of an eighth-grade class in 2012-13.
Space will become available in the building, located between First Avenue and Avenue A, after the expected departure of Ross Global Academy, whose charter the Department of Education decided not to renew based on poor performance.
A DOE representative said that Girls Prep plans to relocate between 190 and 200 students in grades five through seven to space in the East 11th Street building currently housing nearly 400 Ross Global Academy students.
Girls Prep's enrollment should grow to about 265 to 285 students in 2012-13, and eventually to about 290 to 310 students in 2013-14, according to DOE projections.
East Side Community School's enrollment for its sixth- through 12th-grades is projected to remain between 575 and 625 students over the next two school years.
The relocation received the endorsement of the District 1 Community Education Council, whose president Lisa Donlan called the move a "win-win" Tuesday because of community involvement in the process.
"If indeed Ross [Global Academy] leaves, there is space," she said. "Girls Prep is next in line."
However, Donlan didn't spare a criticisms of the charter school, claiming that it's only in the 14th percentile in terms of achievement; that it doesn't admit enough district students, English Language Leaners or the lowest-income students; and that it doesn't offer "self-contained" classes for special-needs students.
Sonya Hooks, from the DOE's office of portfolio planning, countered that 78 percent of this year's incoming kindergarteners hailed from the district, and that the number will continue to grow school-wide as Girls Prep does.
Donlan said about 35 percent of the school's total student body comes from District 1, based on a review of student addresses.
The committee will wait to vote on the relocation until after two public hearings scheduled for Feb. 28 and March 7. The Panel for Educational Policy will make a final decision on the proposal March 23.