“We must protect P.S./M.S. 138.” An Open Letter From Councilman Al Vann

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Dear Neighbors & Friends,
Throughout my career in public service, I have supported and advocated for excellent schools, which uplift individuals and communities. Creating and maintaining excellent schools requires the support and commitment of everyone. Today, I write to enlist your support for P.S./M.S. 138, an excellent school in the 36th Council District that is fighting a difficult battle.

P.S./M.S. 138 is a high performing, K-8, community school in District 17. There is no special application or test to get in. The average class size is 28. Despite these challenges, P.S./M.S. 138 helps its students achieve excellence and in this way, has achieved excellence itself. P.S./M.S. 138 has received an “A” grade from the city’s Department of Education (DOE) five times in the last six years.

P.S./M.S. 138 is the permanent occupant of a beautiful school building with sixty-two full classrooms. Each one of these classrooms contributes to the school’s success. They include computer, science, reading and math labs, 2 English as a Second Language rooms, a music room, an art room, a dance studio and a library. The uses of these spaces are necessities, not a luxury. Our public school students deserve individualized attention and enrichment that contributes to their academic and social development just as much as children in the suburbs.
Unfortunately, the Department of Education does not seem to see things this way.

Rather than celebrate P.S./M.S. 138’s success, it is attempting to squeeze them into inadequate space to make way for a proposed charter school. If this co-location happens, P.S./M.S. 138’s programming will be depleted. The school’s parents, principal and staff have been through a failed charter school co-location before. Based on that experience and their understanding of their school’s needs, they oppose the current proposal to give some of their school’s space to a Success Academy charter school. They are up against powerful opponents and need our support in the fight to hold onto the resources they use so well.

I have joined State Senator Eric Adams and other elected officials to insist that the DOE withdraw this flawed co-location proposal. This should be a simple matter, since the proposal violates the DOE’s own practice of locating charters in underutilized buildings with struggling schools. However, thus far, DOE has refused to budge. I ask that you add your voice to this fight.

1. Call, fax or write Chancellor Walcott. Tell him to that P.S./M.S. 138 deserves MORE resources, not less and Success Academy should be located elsewhere.
Mailing Address: Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott Phone: (212) 374-0200
NYC Department of Education Fax: (212) 374-5588
52 Chambers Street
New York, NY 10007
2. Attend the public hearing on Thursday, December 13th at 6:00 PM sharp. Because of the renovation of P.S./M.S. 138’s auditorium, it will be held at the Maggie L. Walker Campus, 1224 Park Place at Troy Avenue. Bring signs and come prepared to testify.
3. If you can’t make the hearing, call the DOE comment line and leave a message letting them know you oppose the proposal to push Success Academy charter school into P.S./M.S. 138’s building. The number for Brooklyn proposals is (212) 374-0208.

Please share this letter with neighbors and friends and ask them to join us. The fight for P.S. /M.S. 138 is a fight for fairness, and a fight for our children’s future. That’s a cause we can all support. (Al Vann)

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