The following is a guest post from a Brooklyn Heights Mom/friend of Homer’s who had a few things to say about last night’s P.S. 8 Town Hall on overcrowding:
If I was a Twitterer, I would have live tweeted this meeting because there was a fair amount of ridiculousness. Here is my tape delayed version of just what went down:
The presidents of the PS 8 PTA thanked everyone for coming and announced that we had several local politicians as well as representatives from the DOE in attendance.
The agenda would be their presentation, followed by short remarks from our elected officials followed by a Q and A.
Their presentation was bleak.
The school is already at 150% capacity. There are no space for music, art, etc. The gym and recess yards are minuscule. The cafeteria is a mob scene. Awesome. Just where I want to send my kid to Kindergarten. Regretting the decision not to apply to private school.
— Daniel Squadron (@DanielSquadron) November 21, 2014
Next up is Daniel Squadron, who is, incidentally the only local politician who didn’t give up on LICH when DiBlasio became mayor and stopped giving a sh*t about Brooklyn. He’s worried. He wants to find a solution so we don’t all have to flee to New Jersey. Apparently there was the same issue in Lower Manhattan and they built another school and we are all cool now.
He is following by Jo Ann Simon, who if I had voted this year I would have voted against her because she killed at least 5 trees with the amount of campaign mail that she sent me. She talks for a minute and says nothing.
Next up councilman Levin. Oh wait, he’s late. Back to depressing slides about the thousands of new apartments that have popped up since we moved here in 2008.
Side note that when we bought our place in a pre-war building one of the things that was so appealing about Brooklyn Heights is that there were no empty lots to build new glass towers on and the neighborhood wouldn’t change.
They start taking questions. First question: “why the f*ck are buildings north of Jay st zoned for PS 8, when PS 307 is right there (like literally 2 blocks north off of Front St).”
DOE canned answer: “rezoning isn’t off the table”.
Next question: “Does the PTA have a preference or a recommendation at this time?” Answer “we’re no fools. This is too political and we are not going to p*ss anyone off by doing anything other than stating the facts”
The woman who stands in front of Trader Joe’s trying to get people to oppose building a tower where the library is stands up. Duh, build a school on the library site. Cheers erupt.
Oh look! Councilman Levin has arrived. This is where the meeting starts to turn into a sh*tshow because he’s totally unprepared and fumbling and pretty much says nothing.
This guy is a joker.
Then the PTA presidents make the mistake of letting Doug Biviano ask the next “question” which turns into his campaign for the next council elections. Our friend calls him “the Teamster”. If he wasn’t using a meeting about OUR KIDS as a platform for his political future, I might have voted for him. (Publisher’s Note: Doug has 3 kids, all have gone to or are in P.S. 8)
Next question: “would the DOE consider moving the 5th grade into the middle school to make more space in the Lower School?” Great Idea!!!
Canned DOE answer “that’s on the table.”
Next question: “what are they using the school in the Dock Street building for?” DOE lady gives a vague answer that translates into “we have no f*cking idea”.
Next question (disclaimer – from the awesome asst head of my kids preschool) “when are you going to figure out how many kids will be accepted into K next year and what alternatives will then be given?”
Literally the DOE lady had NO idea what the answer was. She kept rambling about K applications being due in the fall. The gist of it is that nobody will know anything until at least April.
Some guy from the CEC (Community Educational Council, according to Google) starts talking about how this is a district wide issue from here to Bed Stuy and we should seek out other school and make them exceptional just like he did when he took a chance on PS 8 10 years ago.
Ok, now you want me to send my kid to school in Bed Stuy. When you took a chance on PS 8, it was in your neighborhood, so that argument only flies if you live like a block away from PS 307.
Beyond that there were more inane comments from Levin and a promise from Squadron and the guy from whatever dept at the DOE is in charge of buildings to bring in someone from the DOE who actually knows what they are talking about to answer questions.
In the interim, those of us with kids born in 2010 were encouraged to look at alternative options for next year.
— CV Parents (@ConcordParents) November 21, 2014
It boiled down to these options for both long term and short term solutions:
2. Increase class size
3. Build more schools
4. Have a lottery and bus kids out
Build more schools would be the ideal outcome. The library space is feasible. What about Squibb Park does anyone actually use it? What about Hillside Dog Run?
Talked to some friends afterwards and everyone is just freaked out about next year. Thanks again for making this all public AFTER private school applications were due.
— CV Parents (@ConcordParents) November 21, 2014
The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of BHB. Tweets included in this piece are not from the author of the guest post.