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City moves ahead with co-location in PS 9 — despite state order

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The Department of Education is moving ahead with a plan to jam a charter school into PS 9 building on Underhill Avenue, days after a state education official put the kibosh on the proposal.

The city’s new plan shows that the 900 students at the three schools — the elementary school, MS 571 and the Brooklyn East Collegiate Charter School — can all learn under one roof between Bergen Street and St. Marks Avenue.

The plan provides for a special “building council” comprised of the principals of the three school that will smooth out space concerns as they pop up.

“We think the new proposal is in line [with what everyone wants],” Department of Education spokesman Jack Zarin-Rosenfeld.

State Education Commissioner David Steiner had put the kibosh on an earlier version of the “co-location” plan last month, siding with parents about how students would share common areas like the gym, library and cafeteria.

PS 9 parents were surprised by how short their victory over City Hall was.

“It’s only been a week and they’re back,” said Faye Rimalovski. “It’s disheartening.”

There is little push for retaining MS 571, a poorly performing school that the city will phase out over the next two school years. Students scored in the bottom 10 percent on math tests, and the bottom two percent on English tests in recent years. MS 571 also earned a D grade on its latest city progress report.

The charter school will ultimately take up the space MS 571 leaves behind. But Councilwoman Letitia James (D-Fort Greene) and others have pushed for PS 9 to be allowed to expand into a middle school.

“PS 9 has achieved magnificent things and should be given an opportunity to expand,” James said. “But it’s evident that the city will continue to advance its agenda and impede the school’s growth.”

The Panel for Educational Policy vote on the issue at Long Island City High School [14-30 Broadway between Justice Avenue and 51st Avenue in Queens, (212) 374-0208] on May 18 at 6 pm. The proposal can be found at the Department of Education’s website at schools.nyc.gov/AboutUs/leadership/PEP/publicnotice/2010-2011/May182011Proposals.

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Reader Feedback

Rolando from Crow Hill says:
Make room Yuppies!
April 11, 2011, 10:41 am
Fiona from Prospect Heights says:
Rolando

Calling PS9 parents and students all "yuppies" demonstrates your lack of understanding - over 75% of our students qualify for a subsidized lunch, meaning that their family income falls below the poverty line. I'd hardly call us all yuppies.

PS9 is already happily sharing space with another school, so its not about "making room". Its about having enough space and resources to educate and grow our children - and having three schools in this one building space over the next three years will seriously impact that.

In addition, Prospect Heights needs a middle school that will serve the local community - BECS will not do this.

If you are interested in understanding the real issues here - read the latest article on PS9 in the New York times today:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/11/nyregion/11winerip.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&src=twrhp
April 11, 2011, 1:19 pm
Catherine from Prospect Heights says:
I agree with Fiona.
April 11, 2011, 10:11 pm
Sean from Prospect Heights says:
I, too, agree with Fiona. In fact, there's nothing to agree on actually. Facts are facts, and Fiona states them as does Mike Winerup in his NY Times article above. Forget yuppies or anything else. PS is a New York City public school on the rise. Squeezing in another school of any kind is foolish and doesn't allow for the expansion of PS9 and for the school to flourish. Those that drink the charter school kool-aid seem ready and willing to paint NYC public schools with the same big brush, as terrible places with low standards. PS9 is not such a place, as it should be evident from all of the articles in the past two weeks. Let it thrive and let it grow.
April 12, 2011, 10:36 am

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