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Big money could ‘PAVE’ the way for new Red Hook school

The Brooklyn Paper
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A controversial charter school sought to diffuse mounting tensions inside the Red Hook building it shares with a public school by dropping the bombshell news that has almost all the money it needs to build its own permanent facility.

The news from the PAVE Academy came in a call to The Brooklyn Paper on Thursday — one day after PS 15 parents held an emergency meeting to plot their next move against a charter school that the parents feel was plotting to push out the long-standing public school from the Wolcott Street building.

That fear reached a fever pitch last week when the Department of Education released an “educational impact statement” that declared the school building capable of accommodating PAVE, which opened in 2008 with a kindergarten and first grade program that is set to grow by one grade per year until it is K-7, for five more years.

“This is serious — our school has been targeted for termination,” said parent John Battis, at the raucous Wednesday meeting organized by the parent teacher association.

Most parents reiterated that PAVE originally promised that it would remain in the crowded building, which is between Richards and Van Brunt streets, for two years.

“The original plan was only for two years,” said Julie Cavanaugh, a special education teacher at PS 15. “It’s unacceptable, and a lie to this community.”

Adding into the drama is PS 15’s close ties to the hard-scrabble community. The school is officially named after Patrick Daly, the principal who was gunned down in 1992 during a gang gunfight, so the release of the city report was seen as a slap in the face to a community that has received more than a few.

Another slap in the face? The public hearing on the report was set to be held in Staten Island, though it was later moved to Brooklyn after an outcry from parents.

But the tension may cool down with the school’s announcement that its fundraising effort for a new building had been successful.

“We have $26 million from the Department of Education, and we’ve raised $6.2 million on our own,” said Wally Bazemore, a member of the PAVE Academy board of directors.

Bazemore added that the academy needs $6 million more to have full funding its own facility at Henry and Mill streets.

“We’ll shortly be knocking on the door to our building,” he said. “We want to be good neighbors [now], then get the hell out.”

The dispute is nothing unique in a city where educational achievement is often a function of political power, and, most important, physical space is at a minimum. At least 70 school buildings are in a similar situation in which a charter and public school share space, according to Department of Education spokeswoman Ann Forte.

Updated 12:09 pm, December 18, 2009
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Reasonable discourse

Gideon from Windsor Terrace says:
Charter schools are public schools, so what you have is two public schools sharing a publicly owned building. Instead of just reporting on the drama of this situation, it would be nice to know the capacity of the building and how many students are currently enrolled at each school so we can actually judge whether enough space is available in this particular building for these two public schools.
Dec. 18, 2009, 8:50 am
Jerry from South Brooklyn says:
PS 15, located in a neighborhood facing many challenges, is a wonderful school which is succeeding based upon DOE's own standards. Its top academic performance can be attributed to great teachers, small class size and a well-equipped building. Yet, by placing a charter school in the building, DOE is forcing PS 15 to fight for resources and (even students) which are rightfully theirs. Why the DOE didn't place PAVE in the now closed PS 27 is beyond me. It's a great location and PAVE would be shared the building with another charter school, Summitt Academy. Yes, the PS 15 building is slightly under-capacity, but so is PS 58 and no one is asking them to house a charter school.
Dec. 18, 2009, 11:19 am
Rich from Boerum Hill says:
The reality is that charter schools almost always outperform existing schools and it puts pressure on administrators, teachers, and anyone else with a vested interest in the status quo. This kind of attack against charters is fairly typical but the writing is on the wall; look at what is happening in the LA county school system. Underperforming city schools are going to give way to higher performing charters (which succeed because they are public but not beholden to local politics but a national network of pedagogical expertise and that can therefore make tough decisions about dicipline, low quality instruction, etc.)
Dec. 18, 2009, 12:03 pm
elsa from Red Hook says:
PS-15 actually outperforms PAVE! That is the shock here. The DOE has disrupted an A-rated, high achieving school that is the only public school in Red Hook. The new plan, for PAVE to take 10 classrooms over the next few years will wreck PS-15. We parents find this unacceptable. One has to ask if the $10 million donation to the Bloomberg campaign by the PAVE founder is a factor. Hmmmm, you think!
Dec. 18, 2009, 6:38 pm
Concerned Advocate from Red Hook says:
To Rich: did you read the article? Our school is an AAA school... get your facts straight before giving the corporate line... failing schools...blah blah... lazy teachers... blah blah... civil rights... at least be honest about what this movement is, otherwise you are just cynical. In additon, your claim that charters outperform public schools is a lie and all authentic data shows that.
To the poster who asked about capacity: The DOE says the building is at 66% capacity, this is faulty and untrue; parents have invited all policy makers to come to the building and see for themselves- no one has visited yet.
Finally, let's start calling charters what they really are: private schools that get public money. You don't get to call yourself public because you take away precious tax dollars for your experiments. Charters get all of the benefits of being private, while all of the benefits of being public.
Dec. 19, 2009, 2:20 am
Wow, NYS/NYC has $$$$! from Brooklyn says:
Do you know PAVE has only about 30 to 40 Red Hook kids attending their school, maybe a few more? Now, this is not to say these kids do not deserve all they can get, BUT, can we all put the dollar amount down on what was spent on these 30 to 40 kids and what is planed to be spent on this new facility? These 30 to 40 kids mean PAVE and NYS and NYC are spending tens and tens of millions of dollars. Maybe even at the end of the day 100 million dollars. WOW and Holy Moley! We are not in an economic crisis at all. THEY ARE ALL LYING, from the Governor on down to the Mayor. There is a lot of money out there! Tons of money. What a joke the PAVE fiasco is to NYC and more importantly to the city government, Klein, the DOE and all the politicians who back this! Can someone pinch me; is this really happening in this day and age? Tens and tens of millions of dollars. Hey, Red Hook Christmas has come early! Hey, this is like hitting the lottery ... but for only a few.
Now imagine putting a tiny fraction into PS 15's old rooms for the almost 400 children of Red Hook. Nope, not a dime, not a nickel, not a penny more for those kids. SHAME ON NYC AND ITS ELECTED OFFICIALS, SHAME ON MAYORAL CONTROL OF SCHOOLS, THIS IS A CRIME! IMPEACH THEM ALL!
Dec. 19, 2009, 6:21 am
Concerned Advocate from Red Hook says:
I think PAVE may have less that 40 Red Hook residents, but they have no transparency in their records so it is hard to say for sure. We can't highlight enough the coruption: 26 MILLION! It is sick. In addition, CLEARLY PAVE and the DOE had no intention of staying in PS 15 for the two year agreement- they LIED to the community to get their hooks in and now they are sucking us dry. Please everyone adovcate for the removal of this school, hold them to the agreement, NO or Abstain on the PAVE extension. visit: www.capeducation.blogspot.com for contact information to advocate for PS 15
Dec. 19, 2009, 11:50 am
teacher demands fair share from red hook says:
I am a teacher at PS 15 and have been so for nine years. I am outraged to discover that the DOE has given 26 million dollars to PAVE. And I also do not believe that the only thing stopping PAVE from leaving is a lack of 6 million bucks. I'm pretty sure Daddy Warbucks could sneeze 6 million dollars) My classroom has not been painted in years. Any non-obsolete equipment in my classroom is there due to grants. Every year, I purchase my own computer and copy paper, markers, crayons, notebooks, looseleaf, paint, pencils, markers, etc... Last year we lost an amazing special education teacher due to lack of funding. The MTA is cutting student metrocards.... and yet, somehow, somewhere, the DOE AMAZINGLY has a spare 26 million dollars to just GIVE to PAVE!!!!??? Is anyone else OUTRAGED BY THIS!!!!???? It is insane! Also, its been almost two years since PAVE began their shenanigans and their attempted takeover of our school. HOW MUCH INTEREST HAS $32 MILLION (26 mill plus the 6 mill they have supposedly raised themselves)ACCRUED SO FAR? is it by any chance at least 6 million?

SPENCER ROBERTSON AND HIS LIES MUST LEAVE RED HOOK IN 2010. WE WILL STAND FOR NO LESS! BE PREPARED -YOU HAVE STEPPED INTO THE HORNETS' NEST! VOTE NO ON THE EXTENSION ON JANUARY 26TH AND SUPPORT PUBLIC EDUCATION.
Dec. 21, 2009, 6:35 pm
Shaniqua from Red Hook says:
This is my school you people are talking about, and I don't know how you can be so cruel and heartless. Show us the money people, I mean just show us the money. We need money. Money make us learn better!
Dinero for the spanish speaking amongst us, neccessitos dineros!
4 realz.
Give us money - give it to us.
Dec. 22, 2009, 9:15 am
PS15 teacher from Red Hook says:
This situation is disgusting and disheartening. How can the DOE give 26 million dollars to one small charter school and deny metro cards to thousands of NYC kids?!!
Our classrooms are filled with old furniture, computers, and lack of materials. Yet PAVE is just given so much. What we could do for the students of PS15 with a fraction of that money would be truly amazing. This is outrageous. When is the rest of NYC going to WAKE UP and realize what is happening here?

Buzzzzzzzzzz
Dec. 22, 2009, 10:16 am
Shaniqua from Red Hook says:
Money for us honnies, i'm still waitng to get PAVED.
Learny money Christmas!
Dec. 23, 2009, 10:12 am
taxpayer and supporter of Public Schools from Red Hook says:
The DOE and Bloomberg have it all wrong. Robin Hood robs from the rich and gives to the poor..NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND!
How dare the DOE give $26 million dollars to Spencer Robertson for his current "project". What will happen with the interest on this money? Will taxes have to be paid? Or will "daddy" instruct Spencer on how to get away with not paying taxes in NYC. Like father, like son???
It is disgraceful.....and an insult to dedicated teachers and parents in the public(the REAL public) schools.
PAVE must leave PS15 by 2010...as promised. (But...let's be real...these people don't know how to tell the truth, nevermind keep promises.)
Dec. 27, 2009, 6:11 pm
Lies? from Red Hook says:
The Red Hook Community of PS 15 has been lied to so much, there is no trust in the mayor, the DOE and 99% of the elected officials of this city. This issue of charter schools has shown the blatant corruption of NYC and it's anti-democratic nature.
Jan. 4, 2010, 6:51 am
Janina from RedHook says:
When something good comes to the community people always have their negative and positive things to say. It is about our children not about you or me! As long as the children are being educated and learning, progressing in life let the hostility and hatred go. You know that he got the grant for the new location and will be out by 2013 learn to get along just like we have to teach our children to do the same in life. What are we teaching the children if this keeps going on? Leave the war in Afghanistan!!!
Jan. 12, 2010, 8:39 am
may718 from redhook says:
we need to get together and rally Pave is tryna take ova PS15. if you care about ya childs education meet us at the rally jan 19-2010 @430 on richards st
Jan. 15, 2010, 8:52 pm

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