Monday, March 17, 2014

PEP Tuesday Night/CEC Members/Parents Urge Tish James to Press Co-Loco Law Suit

I am going to be there and film. Rumor is that Eva is bringing the Success people out to enforce the idea that their 194 kids are more important than autistic kids they want to throw out at PS 149 and the Mickey Mantle special ed school -- and backed by millions of dollars for commercials - which could have been used to get the 194 kids a building of their own.

This was just sent by Leonie Haimson:
Dear CEC members and parents:

The signed letter in support of the Council Speaker and Public Advocate continuing the lawsuit vs. 35 co-locations previously approved by the PEP is below.  Meanwhile, there is a PEP meeting tomorrow night in Brooklyn – and we hope you can attend.  PA Tish James will be there, as will be members of the media.  Info here:

Panel for Educational Policy Meeting
Tuesday, March 18, 2014 at 6 PM (come early if you want to speak)
Prospect Heights Campus
883 Classon Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11225
2,3 to Eastern Parkway or 4,5 to Franklin Avenue.

If one or more of you would be able to read aloud our letter, that would be appreciated. CEC members are allowed to speak first.  Please email me if you are willing.

Hope to see you there, and please forward to others especially those parents at the affected schools  thanks Leonie


Dear Public Advocate James and Council Speaker Mark-Viverito:

Let us begin by thanking you for your longstanding support of all public school students and all public school parents.  You have been outspoken supporters of parents and teachers having key input into shaping the schools our children attend.  You have been outspoken supporters of reducing class size, alleviating school overcrowding, and working to implement our children’s right to a sound basic education.  Unfortunately, despite the change in administration, we continue to need your assistance in achieving these goals.

Under the administration of Mayor Bloomberg, the Department of Education pursued a reckless program of closing schools and starting new small schools and charters, and inserting them into existing  buildings were schools were already located, oblivious to their impact on students and the existing schools and programs.

The DOE under Bloomberg ignored the nearly unanimous complaints of parents and the objections of administrators and teachers, and approved hundreds of co-locations that caused more overcrowding, the loss of critical classroom space, as well as art, music and science rooms, caused children with disabilities and learning issues to be pushed out of the rooms required for their mandated services.  The creation of hundreds of new schools also caused a sharp increase in administrative spending and bureaucracy, concurrent with a sharp decline in the number of classroom and a sharp increase in class size.

In the last months of the Bloomberg administration, the DOE pushed through 45 co-locations, ignoring the input of communities and the harmful impact of these proposals on students and school communities. 

We were thrilled when you, along with others, sued to void this massive round of co-locations, and waited patiently, as you did, with the hope that Mayor de Blasio would reverse most if not all of these plans. 

He has not done that, and instead chose to go ahead with most of these proposals, many of which will have devastating effects on existing schools.   We oppose 35 of these proposals, 16 of which will push the building at or above 100% utilization, according to the DOE’s own figures. 

If the Blue Book formula was accurate and pegged to reasonable class sizes, as well as allow sufficient space for special education services, art rooms, music and science, and adequate access to lunchrooms, libraries, and gyms, every one of these co-locations would be seen as pushing the existing schools into unacceptably overcrowded conditions.

This is why 35 of these co-locations must be reversed.

  1. In every case, they will either result in an increase in class size, or make it impossible to reduce class size in the future, despite the fact that class sizes in many grades are now the largest in 15 years and the mayor has pledged to reduce them significantly by the end of his term. Moreover, the state’s highest court has concluded that the class sizes of NYC students must be lowered for them to receive their constitutional right to an adequate education.
  1. They will hinder the ability of schools to address the needs of students requiring special education services by providing adequate space, as well as the ability of schools to address the learning needs of English language learners. 
  1. They will also restrict the amount of space available to expand preK, an important program and one of this administration’s top priorities.
  1. Because the DOE has in recent years redefined a full-size classroom as only 500 square feet, down from 750 square feet, and the building code requires 35 sq. ft per Kindergarten student and 20 sq. ft. per student in other grades, many of the classrooms in these schools will trigger violations in the building code, risking children’s safety.
  1. In all cases, the addition of new schools requires the creation of new, unnecessary bureaucracy with excessive numbers of administrative positions when resources could be better used on instruction.
  1. None of these damaging impacts on safety, learning conditions and/or spending are reflected in the Educational Impact Statements.
  1. In cases involving co-location of charter schools, the allowance of rent-free space results in their receiving more funds per capita than non-charter schools, creating inequities within school buildings, with two classes of students, one with smaller classes, more resources and programs, and the other with larger classes, and fewer resources and programs.
  1. In all cases, the DOE has ignored the input of parents, community members, and Community Education Councils, who have opposed these co-locations for the reasons cited above and more.

To be sure, these proposals were approved only because the public hearing process was a sham, the public input process was a sham, and because the Panel for Educational Policy rubberstamped them without serious review.  In all cases, the voices of parents were not heard, and this was unlawful.

We urge you to proceed with your lawsuit and to see that the process going forward adheres to the law.  We pledge to join you in that effort.


Leonie Haimson, Executive Director, Class Size Matters
John Englert, Co-Chair, Citywide Council on Special Education
Shino Tanikawa, President, Community Education Council District 2*; member of DOE “Blue Book” Taskforce
Bryan D'Ottavi, President, Community Education Council District 8
David Goldsmith. President, Community Education Council District 13*
Tesa Wilson, President, Community Education Council District 14; member of DOE “Blue Book” Taskforce
Felicia P. Alexander, President, Community Education Council District 16
Heather Ann Fiorica, President, Community Education Council District 21
Deborah Perkins, President, Community Education Council District 22
Alicia Hyndman, President Community Education Council, District 29
Sam Pirozzolo, President, Community Education Council District 31
Naila Caicedo-Rosario, President of Community Education Council District 15  
Adam Wilson, Vice President, Community Education Council District 15
Eduardo Hernandez, Ph.D., Treasurer, Community Education Council District 8
Barbara Denham, Treasurer, Community Education Council District 3
Tamara Rowe, Member, Community Education Council District 2*
Olivia Rychter, Treasurer, Community Education Council District 1
Ben Greene, CPAC Representative, District 13; 1st VP, Community Education Council District 13
Olaiya Deen, Member, Community Education Council District 3
Eduardo Hernandez, Ph.D.Treasurer, Community Education Council District 8
Gloria Smith, President of District 75 President Council and 1st Vice President, Citywide Council of D75
Linda Dalton, Member, Community Education Council District 21
Randi Garay, Member, Community Education Council District 21
Joyce Finger, Member, Community Education Council District 21
Ericka Williams, Member, Community Education Council District 29
Tricia Joyce Chair, Youth and Education Committee; Community Board 1*
Michelle Kupper, Community Education Council District 15
Josh Karan, former President, Community Education Council District 6
Evelyn Feliciano, Parent Leader District 10; Member, Bronx Community Board 5
Monse Santana, Title I chair, PTA Tompkins Square MS*, and District Leadership Team, District 1
Christine Kroening, PTA President, I.S. 78 Roy H. Mann School
Vishnu Mahadeo, PTA President, Richmond Hill High School
Irene Abraham, I.S. 78/P312 Parent
Carlos M. Lopez Garcia, SLT Chair, Safety Chair & UFT Chapter Leader, PS 30X
John Lawhead, ATR Teacher, District 21
Harlan Mathieu, Former Teacher, PS222Q; District 30 Parent PS78Q, IS227Q
Julie Fraad, Former Assistant Principal, Secondary School for Law, District 15
David Rosenberg, Public School Parent, PS3 PAC
Deborah Alexander, Member, Community Education Council 30
Alexandra Zisimos Lopez, PTA President, Seth Low Middle School
Jim McKay, Parent, BNS/District 15
Angelica Salgado, Parent and SLT Member, PS143 District 24
Kent Atkinson, PS 106,123K D32; Retired TSI
Juanita Laboy, District 15
Dinine Signorello, Parent, LMC/PS 3/District 2
Beth Bernett, Former Public School Parent
Maureen Pricci, Retired Teacher, PS184, District 1
David Dobosz, Parent, Retired Teacher and Education Activist, District 14
Tanya Pollard, Parent, P.S. 107, District 15
Kari Steeves, Public School Parent, District 6
Annette Brown, Public School Parent, I.S. 59 Springfield Gardens, District 29
Tina Schiller, Public School Parent, District 2 

(* for identification purposes only; list in formation)

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