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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Marine Park community comes out to protect their public school

Last night the Marine Park community in Brooklyn came out in numbers to voice their opinion regarding the placement of the Hebrew Language Charter school inside Marine Park Junior High School. All in all it was a great meeting, and included over 900 people, parents, community people, and elected officials.

We packed the entire auditorium with standing room all the way out the doors. The overwhelming majority were against the forced entry of the charter into the existing building. The charter people came and spoke about their wonderful program, etc. but the issue at this point if not whether we are for or against charters but its placement in the public school.

Congressman Anthony Weiner, City Council Member Lew Fidler, Comptroller Bill Thompson and Senator Marty Golden spoke vehemently against the placement. Assembly Member Alan Maisel and Senator Carl Kruger were up in Albany and sent reps who also indicated that they were totally against the idea. Many people spoke and offered alternate possible sites – but not in any public school. It seemed very pertinent to Ms. Sarah Berman, the founder of the charter school, as well as Mr. John While of the DOE that they had 300 signatures of people who wanted the charter. The committee at IS 278 presented them with over 7000 bound signatures on petitions against this placement.

It was also pointed out by one of the speakers that if Michael Steinhardt, Ms. Berman’s billionaire father, were not a personal friend of Mr. Bloomberg this placement would not even be an issue.

Mr. White of the DOE dangled the carrot that if we went for this for the two years they would then let Marine Park have the 6 - 12 program they have been asking for four years now. He was told that the carrot and stick wouldn't work.

He also promised that the charter school would sign a memo of understanding that they would get out after the two years. He was again told that with the track record of the DOE, we didn't believe that either. This is especially true, since he himself said at the town hall meeting the previous week, when questioned what would they do if the Charter still didn't have a space after two years, he said to the effect we couldn't throw the kids out on the street.

A video of this earlier meeting can be viewed at the

Last night, the DOE mostly just listened while person after person stated valid reasons why they did not want the charter housed in Marine Park JHS. At times their boredom was apparent, but the parents and community intend to continue this fight. -- Dorothy Giglio

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I really truly applaud your efforts in protecting the foundation that your community has established for your commnity children. There is a similar situation happening in the Bronx in Co-Op City where the DOE has approved spacing for a middle school charter school in a tiny elementary school. Although it has been approved there may be a slight technicality that we are trying to get them on (legally). Because no one is above the law..not even Mr. Bloomber or Joel Klein. Apparently, this charter school did not dot all theirs i's and/or cross all their t's during the application process. At the siting hearing, we had several politicans and community leaders and parents speak out on this issue. The Committe District were not even informed and were not aware of this siting until the parents brought it to their attention. To further fight this issue, we will be marching in Co-op city this Friday, May 29th @ 2:30pm to oppose the charter school being housed in PS 160. If Charter Schools are so great, why do they need to share space with children who are all ready placed?
They have millions to open a stadium, shopping malls etc....give these people their own building!!!!! ENOUGH!