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PAVE-ing the way! City gives Red Hook ‘Academy’ three more years in PS 15

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A controversial charter school will be allowed to use space inside a cramped Red Hook public school for at least three more years, thanks to a city vote on Tuesday.

Defying the wishes of parents at PS 15, the city’s Panel for Education Policy voted overwhelmingly to allow the K-second grade PAVE Academy to remain inside the Sullivan Street building.

Parents have sued the city to get the charter school out of their building, saying it is too small to accommodate the needs of all students. When it opened two years ago, PAVE was supposed to move out by this June.

My classroom is literally the next classroom that will be taken away,” said Patty Isoldi, a fifth grade teacher at PS 15.

Teachers say that space is so limited that “the occupational therapist has to share the library,” added PS 15 reading teacher Marie Sirotniak. “The other occupational therapist has to share the computer room.”

The city says there is more than enough room in the 73-percent capacity PS 15 building for both the public school’s 390 students and PAVE’s 138 kids. The building, in fact, could accommodate 198 more students, city officials said.

More concerning for parents is that the education panel decision, which keeps PAVE inside PS 15 through the 2012-13 school year, can be extended.

If PAVE doesn’t secure its own home by June 2013, the city “will re-evaluate the available space in the [PS 15] building to determine whether sufficient space exists for PAVE to remain,” the Department of Education said in a statement.

Parents of PAVE students insist that the charter school doesn’t want to take over PS 15’s building, which is between Richards and Van Brunt streets.

“The co-location of PAVE and PS 15 should be something that enriches both schools,” said Jeanette De Jesus, whose daughter is in the second grade at PAVE. “Our intention is not to take away from PS 15. Our intention is to have a space for us to give Red Hook kids a choice.”

But PAVE’s founder and executive director, Spencer Robertson, thinks that his school will leave PS 15 on schedule.

“We are in contract” to purchase a warehouse at 732 Henry St. off Mill Street, he told us.

The cost of the site and renovations are estimated at $39 million. The city is covering two-thirds of that cost and PAVE is raising the remainder through private donations, Robertson said.

Updated 5:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Katie says:
I am the Physical Therapist at PS 15. I am currently working out of a locker room. I think that it is disgraceful that PAVE continues to be allowed to remain in PS 15. I have no reason to believe that PAVE intends to leave the PS 15 building. There is a large percentage of students who are receiving special education and related services at PS 15 and there just is not enough room to have PAVE comtinue to take 3-4 classrooms a year. Next year I will probably have to work in the hallway. Is that what our special needs population deserves?
April 22, 2010, 5:58 pm
Disgusted from Red Hook says:
Bloomberg, Klein and the DOE should be put in jail!
Pave academy is a joke to the Red Hook Community.
All local politicians came out AGAINST Pave. Everyone knows it is wrong for them to be there but Bloomberg, Klein and the DOE.
The poor children and families of PS 15 have suffered so long with this and now this just may KILL the Patrick F Daly School.
Pave's owner is a billionaire. This is the only reason why this was allowed. The bigger shame is he is stealing more money from the city by using tax payers dollars to build a building! The billionaire can't build his own? This is the biggest SCAM in town. This is the trouble of Charter schools in NYC. The awful mayor Bloomberg, Klein and DOE take and steal from some and give it all away to even those who do not need it...billionaires. NYS is the most corrupt state and almost all of its political leaders are allowing it to be so.
Poor PS 15 children and families ... you once had a great school ... now it is going down the tubes! Thanks Bloomberg and your corrupt PEP for voting against a AAA school and killing what was was working for Red Hook.
April 23, 2010, 4:31 am
Really...Really? from Red Hook says:

Visitors from the DOE arrived two days before the public hearing to discuss how they will "assist"dividing up space in P.S. 15. Yes, one week BEFORE the PEP vote and two days BEFORE the public hearing, plans to give away MORE space to PAVE were being put into place. Maybe that is why parents and staff of PAVE academy did not attend the public hearing. Why would they, when Mr. Robertson KNEW he would get his way?

Mr. Robertson and his team have waxed poetic about their mystery building since July of 2009,refusing to give real details to anyone. Why wouldn't you have a facility in place BEFORE you open a school? That sounds like poor planning and bad business to me.

The DOE states the reason for opening another school in Red Hook is to offer "high quality options" to parents in District 15. Hmm, opening a school in an isolated area of Brooklyn difficult to get to by public transportation is an option for parents district-wide?
And "high-quality"-- maybe they should reconsider after a glance at PAVE's learning environment survey, which reveals that 50% of the teachers do not trust their principal, or the Quality Review that repeatedly uses the term "underdeveloped" to describe how the school functions.

Are you putting the pieces together now? PAVE. like all other co-located charter schools are given free space in a public school building to figure out how to run their school (if they can manage that), before they find a place of their own. This is happening at the expense of an existing, successful public school, and it is happening all over the city!

Parents and students deserve high quality public schools in their communities, it's too bad our mayor and chancellor didn't spend the last eight years making THAT happen!

And now we will have yet another summer where it is only PAVE Academy's rooms that are renovated and painted while the P.S. 15 community is pushed aside, given what the DOE considered "sufficient" to function.
April 23, 2010, 5:27 am
Dixie from Gowanas says:
Not that I like PAVE at all, I don't, but going by what the community wants isn't a great idea either.
Maybe it would be better to give them what they need, instead of the policy of responding to wants which has been ruining the public school system since the 70's.
PAVE is neither a need nor a want, but I think that defying community wishes is a good start. But next time let's do it with the difficult and unpopular decisions that will lead to a decent education and preparation for society for these kids.
April 24, 2010, 12:43 pm
Charlene Z. from Red Hook says:
What on earth is your point, Dixie?
May 10, 2010, 6:49 pm

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