UPrep CEO: Irondequoit Planning Board Allowing Racist Comments

The CEO of University Preparatory Charter School for Young Men is taking issue with the Irondequoit Planning Board.

UPrep has sought to move the school to East Ridge Road for months.

Walter Larkin Junior says the Board has allowed racist comments about the school during public hearings to be entered into record.

Larkin also says some residents have been allowed to hijack hearings with off-topic remarks and letters, and one board member has repeatedly voice opposition to the move, prompting fears the school move won't get a fair shake.

He's calling on the Planning Board to improve its procedures.

Irondequoit officials have yet to respond to Larkin's statement.

Walter Larkin's Statement to Media:

UPREP is working in good faith with the Town of Irondequoit and our legal counsel to explore purchasing the property at 3000 East Ridge Road, which is large enough to house our school with ample space for parking and an athletic field on the side of the building. Our current location is 42,000 square feet and the new location after renovations would double the size of it.
We understand that some residents have concerns about a school potentially being located on the property like traffic and construction. Unfortunately, many of their oppositions have been well documented on change.org and irodequoitcitizens.org with untrue accusations of UPREP that upon review one could only attest it to racism and lack DEIJ training. We have addressed all concerns in an open, transparent manner and have worked closely with the Town of Irondequoit Planning Board throughout the entire process. However, we are concerned about the way this process has been unfolding for the last several months.
At every Planning Board meeting, residents were allowed to speak and write letters off topic, and standard meeting protocols were not being followed. Speaker time limits were not enforced, disrespectful and untruthful claims about our school community that were racist were allowed on the record. One of the planning board members has repeatedly voiced opposition to our proposals at the meetings (and in writing), which leaves UPREP feeling we won’t receive a fair decision based simply on the site plan and variance process. These meetings and letters are posted on the Town’s website and are a matter of public record.
Our students and staff deserve better. We are calling on the Town of Irondequoit planning board to improve its procedures to ensure that this process is fair and equitable to all. We value the importance of seeking Town approvals, following proper procedures, meeting necessary requirements, and working collaboratively with everyone. We are confident that relocating our school to Irondequoit will benefit both our school community and neighboring residents as we have seen at our current location,and with the same integrity as the other five schools within this residential area. We know that together, we can ensure a positive outcome for our students and the community as a whole.
Walter Larkin Jr.
University Preparatory School for Young Men

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