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Farina Changes Course, Says NYC Will Find Seats For Charter School Kids

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- After going through two stop signs, Mayor Bill de Blasio is now making a U-turn and reversing course on charter schools.

De Blasio has reversed a decision to kick Harlem Success Academy out of its space in a public school building that was promised to them by former Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina also did an about-face Friday and said New York City is looking for additional space for the 194 mostly minority students, CBS 2's Marcia Kramer reported.

The flip-flop came after Farina said the school's students were "on their own.''

"I shouldn't have said it. The reality is, I had just come off a meeting, I had done a lot of things and they stick the mic in your face, but did I mean it? No," she said. "As of right now, we are looking for a place to put the children who would be displaced."

In a statement, Success Academy spokeswoman Kerri Lyon said school officials are glad to hear that Farina "has heard the pleas of families who desperately want this high-performing school to continue."

Top educators applauded the decision, Kramer reported.

"The city made a promise to these parents and students last year," Merryl Tisch with the NYS Board of Regents told Kramer.

"Last year the parents won a lottery and we all know what winning a lottery means -- how much it meant to them and you just can't pull the rug out from under them in the 11th hour," Tisch said.

De Blasio did allow 14 other charter schools to keep space given to them by Bloomberg.

Earlier this week, thousands of parents, students, teachers and charter school advocates took part in pro-charter rally in Albany.

De Blasio made no personal comment and did not take press questions about the flip-flop during a seminar on his pre-K issue Friday, but praised his wife Chirlaine McCray's work on the issue, Kramer reported.

Some charter officials raised doubts about whether new space would actually be found, but a de Blasio spokesman insisted this is a "good faith effort to solve the problem," Kramer reported.

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