OFFICIALS TO NYC DOE: DON’T GIVE UP ON I.S. 109

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Electeds Urge “No” on Proposal to Co-Locate High School in Existing I.S. 109 District Middle School
QUEENS, NY – In advance of the upcoming Panel for Education Policy (PEP) vote next week, Borough President Melinda Katz, Senator Leroy Comrie, Assemblymember Alicia Hyndman, Councilmembers Daniel Dromm, Barry Garodnick and I. Daneek Miller stated the following about the New York City Department of Education’s (DOE’s) proposal to open and co-locate a new charter high school at I.S. 109 Jean Nuzzi Intermediate School, an existing district middle school in Hollis, Queens:

“All decisions by the DOE to co-locate schools are viewed by communities as the City giving up on the extant traditional public school,” the elected officials wrote in a joint letter last week to Chancellor Carmen Fariña and PEP Chairperson Vanessa Leung. “I.S. 109, however, is a community school in which the DOE should be investing, not shearing. For a school that is ‘future-oriented’, its facilities are already antiquated and deserve considerable upgrade. If there are any issues or concerns with I.S. 109, we firmly believe it is better to invest in its future than to induce significant strain that would come from the addition of 400+ students of an entire high school.

“Co-locations have proven disruptive to school communities, creating unnecessary tensions and challenges to learning environments for the respective students and educators,” the officials continued. “The objections of 1,200+ parents and community members who have signed the I.S. 109 Parent Teacher Association’s (PTA’s) petition must be taken into account when evaluating this proposal. Their concerns about safety, security and adverse effects on the students’ learning experience are absolutely valid and must not be ignored.”

The Queens Representative and Borough President Katz’s appointee to the PEP is Ms. Deborah Dillingham. The PEP is scheduled to vote on the co-location proposal at its next meeting on Wednesday, May 18, 2016.

The full text of the joint letter is below.

May 1, 2016

Carmen Farina
Chancellor
New York City Department of Education
52 Chambers Street
New York, NY 10007

Vanessa Leung
Chairperson, Panel for Educational Policy
New York City Department of Education
52 Chambers Street
New York, NY 10007

RE: Proposed Co-Location of New Visions Charter High School for the Humanities IV
(84QTBD) with Jean Nuzzi Intermediate School (29Q109) in Building Q109 Hollis, Queens

Dear Chancellor Farina and Chairperson Leung:

Co-locations have proven disruptive to school communities, creating unnecessary tensions and challenges to learning environments for the respective students and educators. We are deeply troubled by the proposal to open and co-locate a new charter high school at LS. I 09, and we urge the Department of Education to withdraw the proposal and find an alternative location for the new charter high school.

The objections of 1,200+ parents and community members who have signed the LS. l 09 Parent Teacher Association’s (PTA’s) petition must be taken into account when evaluating this proposal; enclosed is a copy of their petition. Their concerns about safety, security and adverse effects on the students’ learning experience are absolutely valid and must not be ignored.

Furthermore, the LS. 109 building was never meant to house a high school, having been originally built to house an elementary school. Given the egress issues of the LS. 109 building, there would be no way to separate the two different schools and the utility of school facilities, even if the classroom periods were staggered.

All decisions by the DOE to co-locate schools are viewed by communities as the City giving up on the extant traditional public school. I.S. 109, however, is a community school in which the DOE should be investing, not shearing. For a school that is “future-oriented”, its facilities are already antiquated and deserve considerable upgrade. If there are any issues or concerns with I.S. I 09, we firmly believe it is better to invest in its future than to induce significant strain that would come from the addition of 400+ students of an entire high school.

We urge the DOE to not give up on l.S. I 09, to withdraw the current proposal and to find an alternative location for the new charter high school.

Sincerely,

Hon. Melinda Katz
President, Borough of Queens

Hon. Leroy Comrie
State Senator, 14th District

Hon. Alicia Hyndman
Assemblywoman, 29th District

Hon. Barry Grodenchik
City Councilman, 23rd District

Hon. I. Daneek Miller
City Councilman, 27th District

Hon. Danny Dromm
Chair, Education Committee

cc: Fred Baptiste
Isaac Carmignani
T. Elzora Cleveland
Deborah Dilingham
Gary Linnen
Kamillah Payne-Hanks
Lori Podvesker
Ben Shuldiner
Laura Zingmond
D. Miguelina Zorilla-Aristy

Enclosures

 
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