Statement Regarding Public School 9 / Middle School 571 – 80 Underhill Ave, Brooklyn

January 24, 2011
The Department of Education is proposing changes to the P.S. 9 / M.S. 571 campus at 80 Uncerhill Avenue. The DOE’s proposal is to relocate the Brooklyn East Collegiate School to the site, and phase out M.S. 571. After the consolidation is complete The Brooklyn East Collegiate Charter School and P.S. 9 would be the sole occupants of this site.

This proposal is of grave concern to me as a former educator because I believe the Department of Education needs to actively seek the input of the various stakeholders including parents and professionals and abide by its own procedures when dealing with matters relating to school consolidations, relocations and closures.

While I recognize that the Department of Education must utilize every amount of space they have the Department has not handled this situation in the appropriate manner. The Department did not speak with stakeholders prior to the release of their Educational Impact Statement. It is unfortunate that the Department has chosen to act this way and continues to do so despite community opposition.

Time and time again the parents and the Principal at P.S. 9 have demonstrated their commitment to this school. Not only has attendance risen ever year since 2006 but the parents took on a leadership role in creating a new library; in lobbying for a new playground to be built; in raising money to maintain arts programs despite budget cuts; and in donating new technology.

Every year more and more young families relocate to this neighborhood. The demand for quality early childhood programs are on the increase. I strongly urge the Department to work with stakeholders to create an alternative site for the Brooklyn East Collegiate School. By pursuing an alternative the DOE will be acknowledging the need this community has for a well rounded primary school education.