Class will be in session Monday at the Success Academy — starting with a lesson in defiance.
The leader of the renown charter school group vowed to start class on Aug. 14 in a Queens public school building that the powerful teachers’ union is trying to kick her out of.
Word that students would be in their seats in just days came a day after the United Federation of Teachers filed an emergency injunction in Manhattan State Supreme Court Wednesday, urging a judge to stop the move.
Eva Moskowitz said that with the court dragging its feet, the academy’s Rockaway Park Middle School was going to be rolling full steam ahead with plans to open in the PS 225 building in Queens, which houses the Department of Education’s Waterside Leadership School.
Union officials had filed a lawsuit to prevent the publicly funded, privately run charter school from co-locating in that public school building and at the K495 high school complex in Brooklyn, citing New York’s new class-size law.
Last week, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Lyle Frank modified a June 30 temporary restraining order that prevented Success from doing classroom prep and limited renovation work in the buildings, noting that school was set to start on August 14.
The court had not yet ruled on the lawsuit as the first day of school rapidly approached.
Moskowitz, a former Democratic city lawmaker from the Upper East Side, told The Post that the network had already held pre-school-opening orientation sessions in the building, and was set to ring the opening bell at the start of next week.
The UFT said in court documents that any move to open without a firm court order was “staggeringly irresponsible,” because Success officials “have been on notice that the co-locations were subject to challenge and possible Court order since March,” accusing them of ignoring the court’s “authority and reality altogether.”
“Recent harms and the imminent start of Success Academy’s school year … have necessitated this emergency application to enjoin these co-locations,” the document read, citing “myriad harms
and safety concerns.”
The union has contented that the new law, which caps middle school classes at 23 students and high school classes at 25 students, will require public schools to have more space in DOE buildings, meaning the charters would not fit.
It pleaded with the court Wednesday to consider the public and charter schools that would be impacted by a final ruling on the expulsion later in the school year.
“A decision granting the Petition in September or October will cause massive disruption to the education of all students involved,” the filing continued.
The city’s Law Department had remained neutral when asked for comment on Monday, saying students at DOE-run schools and charter students alike would benefit from Success’ renovations, “regardless of the lawsuit’s outcome.”
The modified restraining order did have its limitations for Success – it limited them from installing smartboards and AC units, – but it did not explicitly forbid classroom activity.
The UFT’s latest legal maneuver came after it filed more than a dozen unsuccessful lawsuits to blunt the rise of Success, which now boasts 53 schools in every borough except Staten Island and is the city’s largest charter school network.
The teachers’ union argues charters — and their largely non-unionized staff – take away resources from public school systems and threaten their nearly 200,000 members.
Lawyers for the UFT and Success Academy Charter Schools did not immediately return a request for comment from The Post Thursday.
On Thursday afternoon, the a city lawyer for the DOE filed papers saying a judge shouldn’t grant the new request by the union for the emergency injunction.
“To now, three days before classes begin, force respondents, Success Academy, and hundreds of school children and their families to change course and find a new location for both SA-Far Rockaway and SA- Elementary would be a significant disruption to the status quo and clearly would be against the equities,” the city’s papers stated.
A Post series earlier this year highlighted how students of color who attend charter schools significantly outperformed their public school-attending counterparts, partly due to heightened family engagement.
PS 225 was shuttered by the city in 2008 due to poor performance.