Please send a letter now to Chancellor Carranza to rescind the decision to close PS 25 and allow the school to grow by putting a PreKch and a 3K class in the school for next year.
As described earlier , and in several news articles, Judge Katherine Levine of the Kings County Supreme Court blocked the DOE from closing PS 25 Eubie Blake, and on May 24 extended the temporary restraining order to allow this Bed Stuy public school to remain open for at least another year.
Since any changes in zoning lines have to be approved by the local CEC, according to NY Education They are currently in existence, there is just no school within it.”, this was one of the plaintiffs strongest arguments, as no CEC vote has yet occurred. The city’s attorney unconvincingly argued in response that the zoning lines “haven’t been amended.
Section 2590-h requires that any change in the utilization of a public school building must follow a certain legal process, including the posting of an EIS at least six months ahead of the next school year, followed by public hearings and a vote of the Panel for Educational Policy.
At the the Success rally in front of City Hall on July 12, Eva Moskowitz excoriated the mayor: “The de Blasio administration throwing kids out onto the street? Does this sound familiar? But this might be a new low for the mayor. Can you imagine how the mayor would react if this was his own kids?”
The day of the rally, she put out a press release, claiming that the school was being “evicted” and that the de Blasio administration was “employing a bureaucratic paperwork loophole to block the school from opening. …. Officials could fix this problem with the stroke of a pen, yet they’ve refused to do so for purely political reasons.”
Note that word “evicted”, though these students had never been in the building in the first place. The press release went on to argue:
“How did it come to this? Earlier this year, the city Department of Education agreed to let Success open four additional middle schools across the city, including Success Academy Lafayette in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn. SA Lafayette was a stopgap solution because the city claimed to need more time to find a location in District 15 for Cobble Hill and Williamsburg families, who have been waiting for a permanent middle school location for nearly four years. Out of necessity, Success proposed converting an existing elementary school (SA Bed-Stuy 3) into a middle school and transferring the elementary school students to two nearby Success schools. The city agreed to this plan. [emphasis mine].”
However, whether adding a middle school into the building or converting Success Bed Stuy 3 into middle school and moving its current students elsewhere would entail a change in school utilization, and would legally require the process described above. An EIS would have had to be posted no later than March 5, given the six-month waiting period outlined in state law and Chancellor’s regs. This never occurred, and it would be too late to happen now, at the end of the school year.
Eva Moskowitz tried to dispute that an EIS would be necessary, but then conceded, “However, even if DOE were correct that an EIS were now required, there is a simple and easy solution.” She proposed that the chancellor skip the required six-month process, by latching on to an exception in the law:
“In the event that the chancellor determines that …. significant change in school utilization is immediately necessary for the preservation of student health, safety or general welfare, the chancellor may temporarily…. adopt a significant change in the school’s utilization on an emergency basis. —Education Law §2590-h(2-a) (f)”.
Yet this section in the law is supposed to be contemplated only in the cases of actual unexpected emergencies, like hurricanes or other disasters rendering school buildings uninhabitable, so that entire classes of students would have to attend school in other buildings. It would surely be illegal to cite this exception to allow a charter school to move into the PS 25 building at the last minute, with no such rationale.
The day before, Deputy Chancellor Elizabeth Rose had responded to Eva Moskowitz’s press advisory, with a letter released to the press, that laid out alternatives for space that could be provided to her middle school class of 70 students.
These alternatives included a list of facilities that Success already occupies in Brooklyn, or would occupy starting next fall, all within .7 to 3.7 miles of PS 25 and totaling more than three thousand available seats, arrayed in four DOE-owned buildings and two stand-alone buildings.
In December, one month before the proposal to close PS 25 was announced, the DOE proposed to move , and move it into P.S. 269, despite the fact that the EIS projected that this move would overcrowd PS 269 building up to 102%. The school would also likely lose its science room, its space for ESL services, and more. All this, despite the fact that PS 269 is already a struggling “priority” school according to the state, and as a Community school, receives “wraparound” services from DOE. The entire building K864/K869 was emptied for the purpose of giving it to Success for its new East Flatbush middle school next fall.
The DOE demographic snapshot shows that the poverty level of Bed Stuy 3 has dramatically increased from 52.4% to 74.3% this year. Perhaps that’s why Eva is so eager to displace its students, to provide room for the more advantaged (though yes, more diverse) Success Academy Cobble Hill students.