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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Flushing's IS 237 Fights for Space

The PTA of Rachel L. Carson Intermediate School 237Q has asked for support in their fight to keep from losing space in their building as a result of the expansion of one of the DoE's new small schools, East-West School of International Studies. IS 237 had been told East-West would reside in the building for a year, now the news is that East-West will expand to 500 students.

Despite record surpluses and state matching funds for new schools construction, the Mayor refuses to plan for reducing the overcrowding and large class sizes our children endure. In fact, many schools, like IS 237 are seeing increased, rather than decreased overcrowding.

Deputy Mayor Dennis Walcott will join City Councilman John Liu at a meeting tonight at the school.

Here's an excerpt from a letter to the Mayor, Chancellor and elected representatives of the community. Click here to see the full copy.

Our children are more than statistics which can be manipulated to make things appear to be something they are not, and our children are more than dollar signs. Our schools are more than just buildings with unused space and are not, and should not be, run like a corporation. We have programs in place that serve well our students and our community and we feel that you have not looked deeply enough at the entire picture. While we understand the need for change in the school system, and wish East-West only the best in building their school, we refuse to allow their success to be had at the expense and sacrifice of our own children. We have done our best to ensure the safety and comfort of all students in our building and students from both schools have embraced one another without incident; and while we have gladly offered and shared our resources with East-West, please do not forget that we were here first. Our school is our priority and should be as much a priority to you and is East-West. Anything less than this is unacceptable and offensive.

We want: (i) the planned expansion of East-West School of International Studies within the walls of Rachel Carson Intermediate School I.S. 237Q halted immediately until a new home is found for them, or a more just and equitable arrangement can be made; (ii) you to be transparent in your dealings regarding our children – no more secret deals; (iii) the community to be informed of changes in a timely manner; (iv) community organizations, parents, teachers and school administrators involved in matters such as these that affect our community and schools so that all points-of-view can be considered and the best fit for all achieved; and (v) no more money wasted on outside consultants -- statistics tell only a small part of the story. You have valuable resources at your fingertips in people who live in our great City and are part of our educational system -- use them.

UPDATE: Councilman John Liu is taking a hard look at a Home Depot site which could be purchased to house East-West because a new store in the chain will open 1/4 mile away. As usual in the face of overcrowding, the Department of Ed is sitting on its hands. Full story from the Daily News here.

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