Electeds Fight To Stop Controversial Charter School From Opening In Overcrowded District

In the wake of an approval of a Letter of Intent (LOI) of a Brooklyn-based charter school, a coalition of local electeds are looking to stop the school from opening a second location. 

In July, the  Hellenic Classical Charter School (HCCS) got the first step in the process toward opening a second charter school location in Dyker Heights moving through approval from The New York State Education Department. 

The move paves the way for HCCS to open a possible second location at the former Angel Guardian Home located on 63rd Street between 12th and 13th Avenues. The building was recently sold in a deal finalized last week to a private builder, Scott Barone.

Their first location in Sunset Park/Greenwood Heights is a dual language K-8 school with a diverse class range: 23% black, 44% Hispanic and 27% white.

The approval to the LOI incited South Brooklyn electeds, led by Assemblyman Peter Abbate (D-Bensonhurst, Sunset Park) to denounce the school’s proposal citing the main issue of overcrowding, despite the school’s goal to alleviate some of the over population in District 20. 

Abbate alongside Assembly members Felix Ortiz and William Colton, City Council members Carlos Menchaca, Mark Treyger and Justin Brannan, and Congressman Jerrold Nadler, wrote a letter to New York State Education Commissioner, Mary Ellen Elia, earlier this month claiming the school would exacerbate the lack of seats in the area. 

“We are writing to voice our opposition to this proposal and explain why our constituents, who are already voicing their disapproval, will not be well served by a charter schools. “Approving this charter school will do nothing to fix the fact that District 20’s schools are incredibly overcrowded. The average class size is at 121% capacity, putting a stress on our teachers, administrators and the students,” read the letter. 

The Hellenic Classical Charter School at 646 5th Avenue in Sunset Park/Greenwood Heights.

HCCS is actually looking to add 450 seats to one of the borough’s most crowded school districts and is expected to launch with grades K-1 in Fall 2019. After their first year (2019-2020), the school will add a grade each year until the school serves K-8 that would only help to alleviate the district’s lack of seats. 

The proposed elementary and middle charter school will focus on a rigorous education that is rich in challenging content and supplementing instruction with classical study of the Greek and Latin language, history, and other cultural studies.  

“I have lived in this community for decades and my children grew up here. As a former teacher, administrator and principal in District 20, our hope is for HCCS is to be part of another great district and continue to educate children. In addition, we want to expand the collaborative effort HCCS has forged with the DOE over the past 14 years,” said Christina Tettonis, Principal of HCCS.

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