Brooklyn Prospect Charter School

sorting the students

a middle path?

New York

Some charter schools in private space restarted classes today

New York

A charter school finds itself stuck between two controversies

Council member Steve Levin and State Assembly Member Joan Millman rally with staff, parents and children outside two closing day care centers. (Update: A spokesperson for the city Administration for Children Services tells GothamSchools that Strong Place and Bethel Day Care Centers will continue operating until Friday, June 17, in order to give parents more time to find alternative care options.) A charter school with an uncertain future has found private space for the next school year, hoping to appease the neighborhood opposition where it's currently co-located. But in the process, it collided with another citywide controversy: the mayor's decision to close day care centers. Brooklyn Prospect Charter School has co-located at Sunset Park High School since it opened two years ago, but that community wants them out. So last week, the school signed a one-year lease this week to move into 238 Hoyt Street in Boerum Hill. A permanent, privately-funded facility scheduled to open in 2012 is being built down the road. The challenge is that the previous tenants at the rental building were two popular day care centers that have been neighborhood institutions for over 30 years. Bethel Day Care and Strong Place Day Care are two of eight programs ending as a result of Mayor Bloomberg's budget cuts. Today, Bethel and Strong Place were among five centers to close their doors for good. Parents, employees and young children from the centers joined Council Member Steve Levin outside of the building to protest the cuts. "We're here to stand up against what the city has done. Stand up against what the Brooklyn Prospect Charter School has done," said Levin, who was joined by State Assembly Member Joan Millman and about 30 others. "These programs, we have fought for year after year, so that your children have a safe place to stay." The centers would have closed regardless, but Levin partially blamed Brooklyn Prospect's pursuit of the $750,000 lease for the inability to restore funding. "It's tough enough to get funding restored for the daycare centers, but when you have a charter school come in and sign a lease, it makes it all the more difficult," he said. The lease includes a termination clause that would allow the centers to stay if they could afford the rent. That looked increasingly unlikely, however, with Bloomberg holding firm to his budget cuts.