Thursday, April 3, 2008

An Opposing Viewpoint

Hi Emily: I do have had extensive experience with charter schools & space issues in NYC. Think about it. Schools are large, fixed spaces. Communities that serve these schools fluctuate in size. This means that over time some buildings become very overcrowded and other buildings become very underutilized. The DOE places multiple schools into underutilized buildings to minimize the overcrowding in other schools. . The DOE has moved past the idea one building, one school; it just doesn’t work anymore. I was at a school building recently that had 3 schools (a K-8 DOE school, a DOE 75 special ed school & a new charter school). The school building was still dramatically under-utilized. Its capacity was 1400 and it only had 800 students. The charter school was leaving, and the DOE was intending to place a large second elementary school in the newly freed up space. I just checked & your school building is one of the most under-utilized elementary school buildings in Brooklyn. . It has space for 762 students and as of 06-07 had only 409 students enrolled. You are at 53% capacity. ( If you can fight off this particular charter school, that doesn’t mean that the DOE won’t turn around and fill your school with something else, like overflow from another school or a 75 special ed school. By the way, the ones that suffer most from this arrangement are the charter school, not the existing school. The existing principal has the upper hand in deciding whether or not the new school gets to use the gym or the auditorium or the play space. So why don’t charter schools get their own facilities? Well, they are public schools, but they only get 70 cents on the dollar for educating each child. The missing 30 cents is the money that the district spends on facilities. So they have no choice but to go into DOE schools. Your school does have good reviews, but that doesn’t mean that it works for every parent in your neighborhood. There are parents on the charter school side who would like a choice besides PS 15. In my experience, a strong and positive school culture comes from parents, teachers and the leadership at the school. There is no correlation between a school being isolated in a building and its having a family and friendly feeling. Hope this helps answer your question, - Elena

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

With all due respect to the fact that you're entitled to your opinion, you sound like a robot that works for the Department of Education. Yawn. Aside from pointing out obvious things, like the fluctuation in neighborhood populations, etc., I'd like to ask why you seem to think it's ok to give the Department of Education free rein over what happens in community schools? THEY WORK FOR THE PARENTS AND CHILDREN OF NEW YORK CITY, and they act as though parents know absolutely nothing about what's best for their own children, AND they act as though they're ENTITLED to full control over what happens in community schools. They're NOT. The drones over at the DOE are civil servants who only have jobs and salaries because our taxes pay for them. And their decisions are ludicrous most of the time. My family just won a 5 year battle to have a totally erroneous "special-ed" label taken off our son; have you ever been through one of the DOE's alleged "impartial hearings"? It's a kangaroo court. We had to go through a series of total b.s. meetings, hearings, evaluations, and finally, after having years of our (and our son's) time wasted, we got a lawyer AND a terrific judge who straightened the whole thing out. So yeah, I've had a dose of what the DOE's about - ever since my son's been enrolled in school - and to put it very politely, they're completely full of methane-producing substances.