Friday, March 14, 2008

P.S.15 PTA Update

On March 3, 2008 Councilwoman Sara Gonzalez held an informational meeting regarding PAVE Academy coming to PS15. Invited by Ms. Gonzalez were Ms. Madison, and a representative from the following: PTA, School Leadership, UFT, The Justice Center, PAVE Academy, Department of Charter Schools, Department of Portfolio Development, and the Red Hook Civic Association.

John White, from the Department of Education's Portfolio Development apologized for the way the decision was made, but stuck to his statement that PS15 is the "mos underutilized school in District 15, making it the best choice for PAVE Academy". Mr. White promised that the Department of Education is committed to providing choice to parents, and that PAVE Academy would not encroach on PS15. MANY comments were made regarding the lack of notification of parents, school staff, and community members in this decision. Mr. White stated that a study was done of PS15 and the number of "underutilized" classrooms exceeded the number of utilized. Even with the majority of all of our classrooms used for programs like Creative Arts Tean, the Science Lab, Social Studies, Art, etc., Mr. White stated that the DOE follows a formula. Mr. White prmised to send Ms. Gonzalez his reports on that decision, and Ms. Gonzalez would be able to share information at her discretion. We have not heard from her.

Later that week, Jon McGettrick of the Red Hook Civic Assocation gave Spencer Robertson from PAVE Academy a tour of alternative sites in Red Hook. Seems Mr. Robertson really like the PAL Miccio located at 110 9th Street. Regardless of Mr. Robertson's feelings about sites, the decision is ultimately up to the DOE.

Member of the Assembly Felix Ortiz wrote a letter to Chancellor Klein voicing his concern about the placement of PAVE in P.S.15. He applauded the decision to put the proposal on hold and urged the Chancellor to "Search for an alternative site for PAVE. No further steps should be taken to implement the controversial placement of PAVE in PS15 until the plan has been thoroughly examined, and the parents, teachers, school officials, and residents of the Red Hook Community have had a voice in the process." Senator Velmanette Montgomery also wrote Chancellor Klein in opposition of siting PAVE at P.S.15, and of leaving the community out of the decision process.

The DOE has only delayed the decision to site the PAVE Academy at P.S.16. They didn't kill it. Until we see something in writing from DOE that the charter school will not be housed at P.S.15, we should continue to organize an opposition. ANY school coming to P.S.15 would pose a threat to our growth and progress. We are actively looking for ways to increase our enrollment. Please contact the PTA leadership if you have any ideas on how we can attract more families/students to P.S.15. We want our school filled with our community's children.

Please continue to contact Councilwoman Sara Gonzalez, Senator Velmonette Montgomery, Assemblyman Felix Ortiz, Chancellor Joel Klein, and Mr. John White from the Office of Portfolio Development (the decision maker here) with your concerns and questions regarding P.S.15's future. We deserve not to be kept in the dark again. We deserve to be part of the process, whatever it may be.

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