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New Charter Schools Proposed for Lower East Side

By Patrick Hedlund | February 18, 2011 11:58am
Manhattan Charter School on the Lower East Side.
Manhattan Charter School on the Lower East Side.
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Manhattan Charter School

By Patrick Hedlund

DNAinfo News Editor

DOWNTOWN — A pair of new charter schools is looking to open on the Lower East Side next year, including an existing charter school that wants to bring another location to the neighborhood.

A proposal put forth by the Manhattan Charter School, located at Attorney and Rivington streets, seeks to open a brand-new elementary school somewhere in District 1, which covers the East Village, Lower East Side and Chinatown.

The new kindergarten through fifth-grade school would open in the fall of 2012 with about 75 students in kindergarten and first grade, eventually growing to serve about 265 students in total, according to a letter of intent filed with the State Education Department.

The second proposed school, NYC Academy Charter School, would also open in fall 2012 and serve kindergarten through fifth grade, starting with 100 students and growing to 350, according to the SUNY Charter School Institute.

Both schools still must have their charter applications, which are due next month, authorized before the city Department of Education begins searching for available space.

Representatives from both schools did not immediately returns requests for comment.

Manhattan Charter School opened in 2005 and currently serves about 270 students in grade K-5. The school features a comprehensive music curriculum with daily instruction, referring to music as "the fifth core discipline" on its website.

The school also noted that 91 percent of its students met or exceeded standards in English Language Arts, while 98 percent did the same in math, based on 2009 test scores.

Lisa Donlan, president of the District 1 Community Education Council, said the she hasn't communicated with officials from either of the proposed schools, and that neither has indicated where they want to open.

"Where is there room for the seats?" she said, noting that while the Department of Education no longer approves charter applications, it does decide where the schools are located. "We're all in the family bed here together."