If you question the Fight Back over the Drive to Privatize, simply examine what has happened to, and what is being planned for PS 114. This is a school that has faced unconscionable neglect by the DOE and has been set up for failure. Why, well apparently to essentially replace it with a charter school. Replacing an elementary school with a charter school is illegal. What the DOE is doing here clearly is a thinly veiled attack not only on PS 114, not only on our public schools, but on the regulatory and legal system that provides oversight and the ability for communities and the citizens of those communities to have any say in what happens in their community. The community education council is the only body that has zoning authority over elementary schools... the DOE is clearly trying to castrate that authority. As Patrick Sullivan said a few months ago, it is like watching a show called The Death of Democracy.
History PS 114 has faced: http://gothamschools.org/2011/01/06/saddled-with-old-debts-a-brooklyn-school-blames-decline-on-cuts/
New plans for PS 114 after it is closed against the wishes of the community: http://gothamschools.org/2011/01/13/in-a-first-new-charter-to-absorb-students-leaving-closing-school/
Public Notice for PS 114 closure including public hearing and public comment information: http://schools.nyc.gov/NR/rdonlyres/CDF11959-252C-4EA1-8F27-73F2E65A2091/96573/PEP_Notice_PS114_revised_final.pdf
This response and analysis from Noah Gotbaum, CEC3:
The DOE was enjoined from doing the exact same thing - including claiming charter preference admissions for kids in the closed district school - at PS 241 in Harlem. The DOE was trying to close down 241 in March 2009 to make way for Harlem Success IV. A law suit was filed against the closing by the Public Advocate, the UFT, CEC3, and parents which maintained that in closing down the only district school in the zone, the DOE was unilaterally changing zoning lines and thereby usurping the CEC’s legislated zoning powers.
See the Gotham Schools article below.
The suit never went to court as the DOE backed down, but then tried to achieve the same closure ends by harassing and starving PS 241. Immediately after dropping the plan Klein sent a letter to prospective and attending 241 parents urging them to choose another school, and removed 241’s feeder pre-K program and closed their middle school.
241 survives today but continues under siege from Harlem Success IV and the DOE. Earlier this year HSA IV expanded by 175 kids although only authorized in their charter to expand by 125. To make room for these additional HSA classes, the DOE took the three ground floor 241 classrooms next to the principal’s office, gave them to Muscovite’s kids, and moved the 241 kids into three basement rooms next to the school boiler with improper ventilation and egress, including into a converted food service room.
When questioned about the space allocation by Assemblymember Danny O’Donnell, Deputy Mayor Walcott claimed that the Building Council (ie. Principals) all agreed as per the law. However CEC3 has a letter protesting the move by a member of that Council.
Time to Fight Back!! Wear Black and Take OUR Schools Back: January 21st is Fight Back Friday.
Wear black, join the press conference on the steps of Tweed at 4:30 and join the City-Wide Rally at City Hall on the Brooklyn Bridge side (Centre Street) on January 27th from 4:30-6:30!