Proposed charter school construction leads to community controversy

The construction plan has led to demonstrations in Kingsbridge, including one that took place this past weekend.

News 12 Staff

May 17, 2023, 9:25 PM

Updated 337 days ago

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A proposed plan to construct a charter middle school is creating conflict within a Kingsbridge school community, leading to accusations of bullying and suspected acts of vandalism. 
Dr. Elaine Ruiz Lopez, CEO and founder of the International Leadership Charter High School, has a message to those who oppose the middle school’s construction.  
“We are opening up a school, we are not opening up a prison,” said Lopez.  
International Leadership wants to build a middle school at 306 West 232nd St., one block from its current high school. The plan has led to demonstrations from opponents, including one that took place this past weekend.  
“They don’t want us in our neighborhood… the rally was disrespectful and offensive to our families,” said Edilis Gonzalez, an administrator at International Leadership.  
Opponents to the construction of the school say increased traffic, pollution, noise, safety and even flooding will be problems for the community if this school is built. 
The charter school claims that its construction site was vandalized and added that bogus complaints about the construction have been made to 311 to halt progress. StopTheCharterSchool, a group opposed to the middle school’s construction, denies any involvement of vandalism.  
Assembly Member Jeffrey Dinowitz, who has spearheaded many of these rallies against the school’s construction, provided the following statement, in part: 
“The fact that a seven-story building is about to be constructed on the site where a single-family home once stood to accommodate 250-300 middle school students. The location is on a very small, narrow, and quiet street. There has already been damage to the adjacent property.” 
International Leadership says it will continue to fight to build the middle school.


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