See email exchange between Marge Kolb, head of the Presidents council in D24 in Queens, and Kathleen Grimm of DOE below.
To this day, DOE has refused to put the placement of G and T classes through any public process for community input, leading to flawed decision-making and the awful outcome described below, with parents having to spend hours transporting their Kindergarten children to schools miles away from their zoned schools – with no busing provided.
As Marge says, "DOE cannot pretend to be 'well-managed' and continue to perpetrate these kind of harms upon parents and children."
From: MKolbcorr@aol.com [mailto:MKolbcorr@aol.com]
Sent: Monday, October 18, 2010 10:48 AM
To: Klein Joel I.
Cc: Fighetti Gabriela; Sternberg Marc; email@example.com
Subject: No Busing for Overflow Kindergarteners?
Dear Chancellor Klein:
I recently called the District 24 office to inquire about the schools in our district with capped kindergartens (which I believe, currently number 6 or 7 schools). I was shocked to learn that busing has still NOT been arranged for 10-12 Kindergarten students from PS 12 in northern Woodside who were offered seats LAST MAY at PS 128 in Middle Village. I was told that one parent may be walking the 4.5 mile round trip to get her child to school each day (twice! in the morning and afternoon) and another parent may be close to losing her job because of the time involved in delivering and picking up her child from school . Parents were initially (and kindly) given metrocards by the PS 128 principal so they could make their way by public bus with their children, but he has since had to stop providing these due to the expense, so now parents are expected to pay their own way (and take two buses) to get their children to school each day. Please note that PS 12 has a free lunch rate of 74% and Limited English Proficiency of 34% - this is primarily an immigrant population being served.
At the September 28 D24 CEC meeting, Gabby Fighetti from the Portfolio division stated that she had just learned of this situation and would immediately take action. Now, weeks later I am told by the D24 office that these students will not be able to be offered busing. This is unacceptable!
I find it absolutely appalling that instead of offering PS 12 students seats at PS 229, which is the next school zone to the south, the DOE instead placed a brand-new 1st grade G&T class at PS 229 which could have instead been placed at the new PS 330 (at IS 73) which opened this year with a Kindergarten G&T. The class at PS 229 draws most of its students from outside the school zone, and thus, had it not been opened, PS 229 might very well have been able to take the overflow from PS 12 (as it took overflow from PS 143 last year).
This is just another example of why the centralization of decisions such as this is detrimental to districts. The right hand at Central does not know what the left hand is doing. You have CEC and Presidents’ Council leadership who have years of experience in the district and a perfectly competent District Superintendent on the ground, yet were any of us consulted in advance about these issues? No!
I would like an immediate report as to what is being done to get transportation for the affected students. In the meantime I will alert the local elected officials to this situation.
President, D24 Presidents’ Council
From: Grimm Kathleen [mailto:KGrimm@schools.nyc.gov]
Sent: Monday, October 18, 2010 4:11 PM
Cc: Fighetti Gabriela; Sternberg Marc; Chan Madelene; Shear Jeffrey; Goldstein Eric
Subject: FW: No Busing for Overflow Kindergarteners?
I am sorry for any frustration here, but PS 12 is a school that does not have busing. Children who are eligible can continue to receive MetroCards, but we cannot provide them to parents. I wish that I could be more help here.
From: MKolbcorr@aol.com [mailto:MKolbcorr@aol.com]
Sent: Monday, October 18, 2010 5:01 PM
Cc: GFighetti@schools.nyc.gov; MSternberg@schools.nyc.gov; MChan2@schools.nyc.gov; JShear@schools.nyc.gov; EGoldstein@schools.nyc.gov; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Subject: Re: FW: No Busing for Overflow Kindergarteners?
Dear Ms. Grimm:
Your information is incorrect. PS 12 HAS busing, it is PS 128 that does not, and inasmuch as DOE has offered seats to overflow students from PS 12 to attend PS 128 (AS LONG AGO AS LAST MAY!!!) it is incumbent upon the DOE to provide transportation to those students.
How come your reply to me does not address the fact that PS 12 parents were led to believe that they would receive busing or that seats at PS 229 (much closer to PS 12 than PS 128 is) were not offered but were instead slotted for a NEW G&T 1st grade class which could just as easily have been located at the new PS 330 which was already getting a NEW G&T kindergarten class?
DOE cannot pretend to be "well-managed" and continue to perpetrate these kinds of harms upon parents and children.
I already have The Daily News interested in this story and the local City Councilmember, Jimmy Van Bramer has been apprised, so I expect a better answer from you.
President, D24 Presidents' Council