In what is currently a leafy spot in the middle of the St. Nicholas Houses in Harlem, two city agencies and a non-profit plan to build a charter school. It would be the first charter built on public housing land — a plan Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been working on for months.
Charter schools need space and the housing authority needs cash, so the mayor suggested they’re natural partners. The plans are being announced on Wednesday, but local residents say the proposal is already a big topic of conversation.
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“I think the proposals got good points and bad points,” said St. Nicholas Houses resident Ronald Islar.
“I really don’t think it is a good idea. I actually don’t think it is enough space — from the buildings to the school for the kids to enjoy themselves. The tenants are going to lose a lot of open space,” said St. Nicholas Houses resident Keisha Wannamaker.
The school building would take up 123,000 square feet and would serve 1,300 students from kindergarten to 12th grade. The school would be part of the acclaimed non-profit, the Harlem Children’s Zone, run by Bloomberg supporter Geoffrey Canada. The city would pay 60 percent of the cost. Harlem Children’s Zone would pay the rest and become a tenant in the building, which the Department of Education would own.