2011-01-27 / Letters/Opinion

Pols Outraged At DOE Plan For I.S. 278

Editor’s note: The following letter was sent to the Courier for publication. We reprint it here to keep our readers informed. Dear Chancellor Black:

We are writing to express our outrage at the latest developments in the ongoing discussion concerning the proposed use for the underutilized space at I.S. 278 in Marine Park. We learned today that DOE is now proposing that a non-zoned K-5 school be co-located within the building at 1925 Stuart Street.

While we understand that the long history of proposed usage for this site predates your recent appointment as Chancellor, we believe that it is imperative that you be briefed on the needs and wishes of the community.

At the December 2, 2010 meeting of Community Education Council for District 22, one of the agenda items was the proposed opening of an independent high school within the building. The response from the community and elected officials was a resounding rejection.

Many speakers, including the two of us, spoke adamantly in opposition. Additionally, there was full disclosure that the school’s administration had already begun the process of establishing an intermediate level NEST program (for students with autism spectrum disorders), which would be fed by local elementary schools. As students from this area must currently travel either to downtown Brooklyn or Queens for a NEST program, the need for a southern Brooklyn location clearly exists within services for students who have special needs. At that time, no objections were voiced by DOE officials in attendance.

To briefly recap a small portion of the extensive history concerning this school, there was an attempt to place an elementary level charter school there in 2009. The community and all elected officials vehemently opposed this. Ultimately, the Charter School did not open. At that time, we were promised that the request for internal expansion that had been denied for several consecutive years would be back on the table. This, in fact, did not happen, so the school came up with their “Plan B,” the NEST program.

We still stand by the many concerns that were stated in 2009 as to why placement of an elementary school would be inadvisable, and implore you to allow the NEST program to proceed, as planned.

Alan Maisel, Assembly Member

Lewis Fidler, City Councilman

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