The editors of the Brooklyn Heights Blog asked us, co-presidents of the PTA of PS8, to author a guest post on our upcoming public meeting about overcrowding at PS8. We’re happy to have the opportunity to explain a bit more about why we’re organizing the meeting and what people can expect.
First, the details: Plymouth Church is generously hosting our meeting on November 20th, from 6:30-8pm. Senator Daniel Squadron, Council Member Steve Levin, and Assemblywoman-elect Jo Anne Simon are all planning to attend; we are hoping to get confirmation soon that a representative of the Department of Education will also be there. We’ve invited other community leaders and expect several to attend as well. Our meeting is an opportunity for us to present some facts and projections about the PS8 student population to these officials and our community, to demonstrate widespread concern in our community about our local school’s overcrowding, to call for short- and long-term solutions, and to inform community members of ways they can express their concerns to motivate action.
A quick sneak peek at what we will present in more detail at the meeting:
As we began having conversations with our key stakeholders, it became clear that there was not yet a long-term plan to address PS8’s continued and increasing overcapacity. The only “solution” discussed by the DOE at that time was limiting our incoming kindergarten (and perhaps other grades) to only 5 classes. Those 5 classes could get very large – after kindergarten, as large as 32 children per class. Given the growth we have seen in our school population in recent years as well as ongoing and proposed new residential construction in our school zone, we were concerned that no longer term solutions were yet being actively discussed. We saw the potential for a rapid increase in the number of children not offered a placement at their neighborhood public school, as well as increasing pressure to further add to the number of students in each classroom. Our elected officials shared these concerns, acknowledged that finding both short- and long-term solutions could be challenging, and expressed that our community needed to come out in force and demand that decision-makers start working on these solutions. This meeting is one way we seek to show the extent of community concerns.
As a PTA, we seek to influence two different sets of actors. We want the DOE to begin a process of officially assessing and addressing our short- and long-term overcrowding, and to engage stakeholders in that process. We also want officials and representatives considering the approval of additional residential housing in our school zone to understand the significant and growing overcrowding problem at PS8. We are not taking a position as a PTA on whether any particular development should be approved; we are saying that before any new residential development is approved for the PS8 school zone, the elementary school needs of that housing should be addressed. We have written letters on behalf of our PTA to both groups and are seeking online signatures in support of these “letter-petitions.” Anyone interested in reading and signing in support of these letters can view and sign them on our website (https://ps8brooklyn.org/overcrowding-petition/).
We hope to see many Brooklyn Heights Blog readers on Thursday!
Kim Glickman & Ansley Samson
Co-presidents, PTA of PS8
The opinions expressed in this guest post do not necessarily reflect those of BHB, its management or its writers.