CONEY ISLAND - Students and staff gathered in Coney Island last night for a public hearing on the Department of Education's proposal to place Coney Island Prep charter school within the I.S. 303 building.

Those from Coney Island Prep say they are fighting for the space that the Department of Education says is available, while the three schools already housed in I.S. 303 argue there isn't enough room.

The Department of Education says the building can hold up to 1,700 students and sited that the building is currently holding more than 1,200 students.  Officials also say the merger would only last two years.

Last night's meeting was the first of two public hearings.  The second hearing is expected to be held tomorrow. The Department of Education will vote on the proposal on April 28.