2010-11-04 / Other News

P.S. 114’s Fate Discussed At CEC Board Meeting

By Dara Mormile

District Superintendent Beverly Wilkins, left, clues some board members on developments. District Superintendent Beverly Wilkins, left, clues some board members on developments. Rumors about Public School 114 closing were neither confirmed or dispelled at Tuesday’s meeting of the Community Education Council. While recent discussions have taken place at the Remsen Avenue school among parents and administrators, District 18 Community Superintendent Beverly Wilkins cleared up confusion over the situation.

“Shared data at the Department of Education showed that P.S. 114’s quality of education has been rapidly spiraling downwards over the last three to four years,” Wilkins said. “We met with parents on October 28th to get feedback from them on why they believe the school is meeting educational standards, but there is no plan right now to close it — we’re simply looking into what can be done to make it more successful so it doesn’t have to be phased out.”

According to Wilkins’ DOE statistics, scores at the Remsen Avenue school have been failing, for the most part, receiving D and F grades for environment, quality of education and test scores.

“Only 34 percent of the students read on the level they’re supposed to and a lot of the programs are seemingly underdeveloped with little leadership,” she said. “This school has been identified as a struggling school and needs academic intervention. It might need different supervisors and even a structural change in the curriculum.”

If the elementary school is phased out, she added, it will no longer accept incoming students while current students will remain until they graduate.

P.S.114, which has served Canarsie for over one hundred years, is trailing behind 46 citywide schools that are also in danger of closing.

According to a New York Times report, of the 47 failing citywide schools, five are schools within Brooklyn. Final decisions for elementary school closures are expected by the end of November.

During the meeting, State Assemblyman Alan Maisel said he is disheartened to hear that Ryder Elementary School is possibly closing and that formal hearings have not yet been held.

“We’ve seen this happen to Canarsie and South Shore high schools,” he said. “The DOE decided to phase them out without saying anything because a hearing wasn’t required. But they shouldn’t be making decisions without informing the community. Quite honestly, I don’t trust the DOE’s judgment when it comes to closing our schools.”

A new stipulation specifies that hearings must be held six months before a school is closed to determine whether it can be rehabilitated. It would also give parents time to take steps about which schools to send their children.

Wilkins said a hearing would be held if P.S. 114 is scheduled to close, during which time parents and teachers can testify why the school should stay open.

Another topic discussed was the underutilization of schools that house multiple academies. South Shore, Canarsie and Tilden high schools were among the buildings identified as underutilized, as were some middle schools, including I.S. 68 Bildersee and I.S. 211 John Wilson.

Wilkins said that some schools on the list may need to share space or be condensed since enrollment is below the targeted capacity. For example, the South Shore Campus’ five campuses currently have an enrollment of 1,297 and the targeted capacity is an estimated 2,700.

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