ps 9 fights city hall and wins

PS 9, located at 80 Underhill Ave. has spent the past several years rallying the community and becoming the "go to" program in Prospect Heights for new families. All of this momentum seemed to be doomed when the city announced that they were phasing out MS 571, colocated in the building (not bringing in a new 6th grade in 2011), and adding Brooklyn East Collegiate Charter School from outside of the district to the building. Since schools need to share facilities but don't use them at the same time, it would mean that strained facilities would now need to be shared between 3 programs, instead of 2. The DOE's plan was a very strangely inequitable allocation of space. From what I saw, the time allocated to the common spaces didn't correspond in any way to the numbers being served. What followed was months of contentious meetings.

A few days ago a group of parent advocates from PS 9 won an appeal to the New York State Commissioner of Education, David M. Steiner, requesting an annulment of the vote by the Panel on Education Policy (PEP). "The Commissioner found that the DOE did not comply with NY Education Law, and ordered that 'the resolution of the PEP approving the co-location of the Brooklyn East Collegiate Charter School in the K009 building is annulled.' The Commissioner further ordered the 'DOE to be prohibited from moving forward with any aspect of the proposal regarding the co-location until the DOE complies with the requirements of the NY Education Law. Specifically, the Commissioner found that the DOE's Building Utilization Plan for the co-location failed to address 'how the proposed allocation of shared spaces ensures equitable and comparable use of impacted students.'"

Essentially, the DOE is back to square one. It would have to substantially revise its Building Utilization Plan and hold a new vote for proposal, which could still happen. What PS 9 now needs to do is to complete their plan for a k-8 expansion. For more information.