Tuesday, January 19, 2010

CAPE In Action: PS 15/PAVE Redux, UPDATED

UPDATED Jan. 20, 9am:

CAPE Communique:

Oh what a feeling...

Juan Gonzalez on PS 15/PAVE in Daily News:

Nothing Schools Chancellor Joel Klein can say will calm the furor and sense of betrayal parents and teachers at Public School 15 in Brooklyn have felt for the past few weeks.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/education/2010/01/20/2010-01-20_paveing_way_over_bklyn_school.html

Jan. 19, 11pm

Just back from taping a rigorous debate at the meeting tonight at PS 15 over the extension of PAVE at the school, with an overwhelming majority of people urging the PEP to vote down the PAVE extension. Even the local politicians broke new ground tonight in supporting PS 15 and urging a rejection of the extension. I have 2 hours of video with some very good speeches. Jim Devor was such an amazing prosecutor I was ready to plead guilty. To anything.

A bunch of GEMers (who are also ICEers) showed up to show support and speak, along with parent activists CEC13 Pres. Khem Irby and CEC1 Pres. Lisa Donlan, along Brooklyn College Professor David Bloomfield, who heads the Educational Leadership school that trains principals (we assume in a slightly different manner than the notorious Joel Klein Leadership Academy.) As a retiree, I never cease to be amazed at the working teachers in GEM/ICE/CAPE who show up to meetings and events all the time.

CAPEers sent these notes:
You all are an amazing group! What a great GEMTASTIC bunch of people. I am so glad to have met all of you and to be working with you! Thank you for your time, energy and support, you rule!

We want to thank you so much for coming tonight, especially out to isolated, little Red Hook, to support us and 'the cause'. It means so much to all of us to have such amazing people in our lives and behind us. Regardless of what happens in the coming days, it is comforting to know that we have what is just on all of our sides and that we are all committed to fighting the destructive educational policies of this Mayor together. You are all in our fondest thoughts.

A GEMer responded:
The energy, information and commitment that you and your colleagues in CAPE put forth have motivated us to continue on with our united struggle. Thanks to all of YOU.

Press Release

Media Contact: John Battis: JBattis@chpnet.org ,

Lydia Bellahcene: lillytigre@yahoo.com,

Brooklyn, New York
January 19, 2010

Parents and Teachers Fight to Protect Their Community Public School:

Red Hook, Brooklyn’s AAA School, PS 15, The Patrick F. Daly School at the Center of New York City’s Charter School Invasion Struggle

When and Where:

· Rally and Public Hearing: 1/19/10, Rally, 4:30 on the corner of Richards and Sullivan Street in Red Hook, Public Hearing, 6:00 at PS 15, 71 Sullivan Street, Red Hook, Brooklyn

Upcoming Events:

· Citywide Rally and March on the Mayor’s Block: 1/21/10, Rally begins at 4:00 on the corner of 5th Avenue and 79th Street, the park side, Manhattan.

· Rally and PEP Meeting: 1/26/10, Rally begins at 4:00 across the street from Brooklyn Tech High School; PEP meeting begins at 6:00.

Today concerned parents, students, teachers and community members rallied and made public comment in opposition to a DOE proposal that would continue the placement of PAVE charter school in their public school building, PS 15, beyond the two year agreement made in 2008. The proposal would allow PAVE to remain in PS 15 until 2015, which would cause irreparable harm to the services and programs provided to Red Hook’s students. Assemblyman Felix Ortiz and Councilwoman Sara Gonzales both made statements on PS 15’s behalf noting the destructive and less than transparent actions by the DOE that have promoted the division of the Red Hook community at the expense of our children’s successful public school.

“Expanding PAVE within our school is unfair and detrimental. It does not promote “choice” or “reform”. The EIS is a “cut and paste” job void of any meaningful information about the real impact on our community. We demand an honest and public assessment that dares to identify the real and obvious problems with this proposal.” John Battis, Parent, PS 15

“What the DOE is proposing will hurt my three children who attend PS 15, and in particular our special needs population. Children should not have to receive services in closets and hallways. The DOE should not be treating our children like they can be thrown away like garbage.” Lydia Bellahcene, Parent, PS 15. “The DOE says that special education services, science rooms, art rooms, and intervention are luxuries, parents disagree. PS 15 is an AAA school, and the Mayor and Chancellor should not be setting policies to divide, shrink, and undermine our great school.”

“I have seen PS 15 grow dramatically over the last nine years and know firsthand the valuable services and programs we provide to the Red Hook Community. The proposal to extend PAVE’s stay beyond the two year agreement is an outrage and devastating to our community. It will destroy Red Hook’s AAA public school.” Marie Sirotniak, Teacher, PS 15.

“The policies being put forth by the DOE are a clear attempt to privilege charters at the expense of our public schools. No one at PS 15 questions a charter’s right to exist, but we seriously question the destruction of public education, particularly successful public schools, to benefit charters. It is clear now, that from the beginning PAVE and the DOE intended this stay to be longer. It is also clear they are very connected, as the DOE has just allocated 26 Million dollars to PAVE for a building, which at the earliest would be completed in 2013. This while our school budgets have been slashed and students and families are going without. The implementation of these policies robs Peter to pay Paul; this is not what our education system should be reduced to.” Julie Cavanagh, Teacher, PS 15.

Please find below an open letter from concerned parents of PS 15K:

January 19, 2010
Dear Chancellor Klein, Mayor Bloomberg, Panel for Educational Policy Members, and the Office of Portfolio Development,

We, the parents of PS 15, The Patrick F. Daly School in Red Hook, Brooklyn, respectfully demand that the Educational Impact Statement regarding the extension of the co-location of PAVE Academy in PS 15K be withdrawn. Simply put, the EIS is wrong and cannot be the basis on which PEP members decide the fate of our school. The most glaring and galling error is in the assessment of the building's current utilization percentage. The assessment does not reflect reality. For example, many of our school's rooms are serving children with special needs and current regulations do not allow these rooms to have higher occupancy. Also, the EIS anticipates that PAVE Academy will continue to exponentially expand its enrollment over the next 5 years while our school will be compelled to cut enrollment. Yet the EIS states that no child will be displaced and that there will be "no impact on PS-15." The EIS is contradicting itself! The fact is that the co-location of a charter school within our school's building has already had negative repercussions for our children who attend PS 15.

The Educational Impact Statement posted in December of 2009, for a 45 day comment period leading to a January 26th PEP vote should be deemed invalid. This document simply does not represent the true educational impact of the change in utilization the document supports. Once the EIS is amended, our community will ask for the proper 45 day review period, as required by law. Therefore, we ask that the vote on this proposal be withdrawn from the 26th PEP meeting date so that the Department of Education can not only re-examine the contents of the current EIS, but we also ask the DOE re-evaluate the desire to force a continued co-location on our school community. Our community was promised a 2 year limit on this arrangement. We have already seen the negative impact the co-location has had on scheduling, program offerings, and related service providers. We currently have no empty or underutilized rooms in our school building - should the EIS authors actually visit our school this would be evident to them.

PS 15 is a thriving, successful school. Its great improvement in every realm, over the past decade, has been based on many things: teachers, parent involvement, community support, and a properly sized facility to house all of 15's excellent programs. Cutting our building in half will set back all of our efforts which have resulted in the only successful public school serving Red Hook.
We respectfully ask the DOE to withdraw the EIS, remove the PAVE extension issue from the January 26th PEP meeting, and fully re-evaluate the policy and the ramifications of this proposed change in utilization. We stand united in fully supporting the original two year agreement and ask that PAVE Academy vacate PS 15 in June of 2010. We do not accept further sacrifices at the expense of our children.

A copy of the School Leadership Team’s public hearing presentation is attached to this release.

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