View Full Version : BK-Ft Greene/Clinton Hill/Bed-Stuy/Prospect Hts Proposed changes to PS 9 - VOTE next month

01-05-2011, 09:27 AM
As you may or may not know, our local public school, PS 9 (on Underhill Ave and St. Marks Ave) has undergone a resurgence during the last few years. Its pre-school has become so popular that even zoned families are no longer guaranteed a spot. This year, the school had enough kindergarten enrollment to add a 6th class. Local parents have been increasingly involved with the school and have worked with the school to obtain a new library and, for this fall, a new playground.

This month, P.S. 9 faces a transformation— and an opportunity. Parents of pre-school-aged children and local homeowners should be aware of this situation. Please also consider speaking up. Some background: For the last decade, PS 9 has shared the 80 Underhill Avenue building with a small middle school, MS 571. When the city Dept. of Education (DOE) decides that extra space exists in a school building, it houses schools together. Last month, the DOE announced its plan to phase out MS 571 for poor performance. The DOE abhors a vacuum, and immediately proposed putting a year-old charter middle school into the building. The charter school, Brooklyn East Collegiate Charter School, is currently located in Crown Heights after it was blocked from its first location, in Brownsville. By most accounts, it is likely to be a successful, disciplined middle school.

Many in the the PS 9 community, however, prefer that the space be left for the expected growth of PS 9 as an elementary school. We would like to see the campus returned to an elementary-only space, as it was for decades. The school has been growing quickly and already could use more space. The school would benefit greatly from having to itself the cafeteria, gymnasium, auditorium and library space—currently, because of sharing space with ONE school, the lower grades eat lunch at 10:30 a.m. and the school occasionally holds gym in the auditorium. For the next year, PS 9 would have to share these facilities with TWO schools. Some of the most successful public schools in Brownstone Brooklyn (e.g., PS 321, PS 58, PS 107, PS 29, PS 261) do not share space with a second (or third) school.

P.S. 9's principal is holding a breakfast meeting THIS FRIDAY MORNING, JANUARY 7, at 7:45 a.m., to discuss concerns about the proposed changes. Then, on MONDAY JANUARY 24 at 6 p.m., the DOE will hold a public meeting. PS 9 will need many people to represent it at that meeting. Finally, on February 3, the DOE's Panel on Educational Policy votes on the proposals. All homeowners in the area, regardless of your family structure, have a vested interest in having a strong elementary school in your zone. Please consider coming to the public meetings to support the school as an elementary-only space and the continued resurgence of the school.

A group of parents will soon send out an info sheet and sample letters to send to the DOE and other officials. The DOE invites comments at D13proposals@schools.nyc.gov.

For more information, you can keep up to date in the coming weeks here:

DOE proposals:

http://schools.nyc.gov/NR/rdonlyres/CDF11959-252C-4EA1-8F27-73F2E65A2091/95303/EIS_K571Replacement_vfinal.pdf (http://schools.nyc.gov/NR/rdonlyres/CDF11959-252C-4EA1-8F27-73F2E65A2091/95303/EIS_K571Replacement_)