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DOE Plans to Reduce M.S. 113 Enrollment to Make Way For New Charter School

By Janet Upadhye | October 16, 2013 8:28am
 M.S. 113 Ronald Edmonds Learning Center is located on Lafayette Avenue in Fort Greene.
M.S. 113 Ronald Edmonds Learning Center
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FORT GREENE — The Department of Education plans to reduce enrollment numbers at M.S. 113 Ronald Edmonds Learning Center by nearly 100 students in order to co-locate Compass Charter School in the same building.

The DOE announced the proposed co-location and enrollment reduction earlier this month, angering parents and teachers at M.S. 113 who plan to speak out against the plan at an upcoming public hearing.

"I don't see the co-location being a problem if our students weren't being phased out," said parent coordinator Eric Figueroa. "It's not something we're comfortable with, and we don't want it — not the way they're doing it."

M.S. 113 is known for its classes in theater, design, dance, vocal music and band. Many M.S. 113 students continue on to performing arts high schools, including LaGuardia High School of Music, Art and Performing Arts, according to Figueroa. Last year two drama students were cast in Spike Lee's Red Hook Summer, Inside Schools reported.

But in recent years M.S. 113's progress report grades have slipped from A and B grades to D grades in the last two school years. The DOE noted that M.S. 113's low progress report grades are a factor in the enrollment reduction, stating in an Educational Impact Statement that it "is intended to provide an opportunity for M.S. 113 narrow its focus to a smaller number of students."

If approved by the New York State Education Department, Compass Charter School — founded by three educators who visited 60 schools nationwide in order to create what they call a "model school" — will open in M.S. 113's building beginning in the 2014-2015 school year. The charter will initially serve only kindergarten and the first grade but will expand to all grades K-5 by the year 2018.

Todd Sutler, one of the founders of the charter, said he hopes that the best practices he learned on the road might benefit other schools in District 13 with an interest in the group's findings.

Sutler declined to comment on the DOE's choice of co-location space.

The public hearing will take place on Oct. 24 at 6:00 p.m. at M.S. 113 located at 300 Adelphi St. in Fort Greene.

The DOE declined to comment on the proposed co-location and enrollment reduction.