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Cutting away at quality education - Parents send out S.O.S.

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Budget cuts planned for Brooklyn schools this September will have devastating effects for schoolchildren, according to a local parents’ group.

“My concern is the budget cuts that have been done by the mayor,” Ronald Stewart, president of District 21’s Community Education Council (CEC), which represents Coney Island and Bensonhurst, said at the group’s meeting last week.

“A promise was made to our children,” Stewart said. “That promise was that they were to have a quality and proper education.”

As a result of the budget cuts planned for the upcoming school year, Brooklyn schools will have to end after-school programs, cut back on professional development workshops for teachers, and possibly eliminate teaching positions, which would ultimately lead to increased class size.

Stewart said the Brooklyn Studio Secondary School, located at 8310 21st Avenue, will do away with its collaborative team teaching (CTT) program, for which two teachers – one general education and one special education – lead a mixed class of general and special education students.

“The CTT program will not be in existence coming this fall. That is a problem,” Stewart said.

“If the money is not there, I don’t see how children will be able to move on to the next grade,” he said.

Stewart also expressed concern about the situation at P.S. 95, located at 345 Van Sicklen Street.

Due to overcrowding, some of the school’s students attend classes in trailers parked in the schoolyard.

While trailers are often maintained at schools for several years, parents are ready to see them gone from P.S. 95. But without sufficient funding, that probably won’t happen.

“The trailers are deteriorat­ing,” Stewart said. “The children have to leave the school and go into the schoolyard. If it’s raining, if it’s cold, they have trouble adjusting.”

“Something needs to be done about that,” he said. “But I don’t see how something can be done about that if there’s no money.”

Fred Maley, senior manager for the School Construction Authority (SCA), said it’s highly unlikely that the city will green-light any new construction projects in the immediate future.

“School Construction Authority, like every other city agency, is going through budget cuts,” Maley explained. “We have to cut half-a-billion [dollars] in school construction projects.”

“We’re not able to fund as many new school projects as we’d like,” he said.

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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