Yassky Urges Officials to Consider Middle School Sites Other than Dock Street

City Council Member and City Comptroller candidate David Yassky has sent a letter to Deputy Mayor Dennis Walcott and Schools Chancellor Joel Klein urging them to become involved in the site selection process for a new middle school in this area. Based on his review of documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Law request, Yassky charges that the School Construction Authority, which has recommended placing the school in the controversial proposed Dock Street high rise in DUMBO, has failed to exercise due diligence in examining possible alternative sites. The full text of Yassky’s press release follows the break.

Absent Due Diligence by School Construction Authority, Yassky Asks Top Leadership to Take Over Process

In a letter to Deputy Mayor Dennis Walcott and Chancellor Joel Klein, Council Member David Yassky today urged the City’s top two education officials to insert themselves into the site selection process for a middle school in Downtown Brooklyn. Over several months, the School Construction Authority (SCA) – the City agency charged with building the most cost-effective schools for students and City taxpayers – have offered contradictory statements and proven unwilling to conduct a truly diligent site search.

For years, Council Member Yassky has urged the Administration to provide a middle school for Downtown Brooklyn, and remains committed to that important cause. However, at this point, the SCA seems committed to spending $43 million for a school at a seriously problematic site in DUMBO with no evidence of the Authority having undertaken a thorough analysis of the cost-effectiveness of other sites.

“With our economy in crisis, families across New York are doing more with less. They are making difficult budget decisions every day and trying to squeeze greater results out of fewer resources. New Yorkers are rightfully demanding the same from City government,” Council Member Yassky writes in the letter. “Therefore, I ask for your help in ensuring that the SCA act in good faith and conduct a truly diligent site search for a middle school in Downtown Brooklyn.”

Documents obtained by Yassky’s office through a Freedom of Information Law (“FOIL”) request indicate that the SCA has neither been straightforward with the public in regard to this matter, nor have they seriously considered other sites that both members of the community and his office have put forth as alternatives to the controversial Dock Street project.

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  • Publius

    Indeed! Now that we learned today via the Brownstoner piece that 20 Henry likely isn’t going to be happening anytime soon, the SCA should show that it’s not in corrupt league with Two Trees and, intead, work with AIG to convert 20 Henry into a real middle school–much larger than the paltry 9 classrooms proposed by Two Trees.

    It’s an existing building, renovation has already been in progress and would just need to be reconfigured for a school. It’s perfect.

    Perhaps AIG might be able to use some of our bailout money to hire their own lobbyists to make smokey backroom deals with the SCA?

  • nabeguy

    I agree with you Publius, as I made the same proposal regarding 20 Henry St many months ago. Unfortunately, the suggestion was met by derision by folks who couldn’t look past the surface, instead referring to the building as a rat-infested fire-trap. Yeah, one that was about to be converted into million dollar apartments before the bottom dropped out. Now is the perfect time to re-consider this site as a possible alternative for a middle-school…that is if we can get the SCA members to overcome their child-like fascination with all things shiny and new and see the financial advantages that this site holds.

  • fezziwig

    oh my gosh, was Yassky born without a brain or did he leave it in a cab? Alternate sites? In other words, find another developer who is a building a new building and leaving room for a school so all the SCA has to do is put in basketball hoops and furniture?
    No, some think that a good alternative would be for the SCA to latch on to a failed luxury condo developemnt in deep financial trouble, like 20 Henry Street, and just buy out the owner and AIG and use the non-fireproof structure as a funky school and pay about twenty times more than they have to and thereby make the old demented geezers in brooklyn heights like Publius happy for about two minutes before their next intestinal gas attack.

  • Publius

    Is that you Jed?

  • nabeguy

    Hey fuzzymath..oops I mean fezziwig. Where are you coming up with your numbers? Given AIG’s status, do you really think they’re in a strong negotiating position? This could be a slam dunk, fireproofing notwithstanding. You’re offering the same dumb “box-what-box?” arguments.

  • No One Of Consequence

    I’m pretty sure all that TT is offering is raw space; i.e. no lights, wallboard, flooring, wiring, nor basketball hoops.

  • Mickey

    What Two Trees (TT) is offering is tantamount to blackmail for politicians and people like fezziwig who don’t see the big picture. The only reason TT made the offer is to get around neighborhood opposition to the height of their structure. They could care less about the school and would likely withdraw the offer once the first lease expired. What needs to be looked at is what is best for the children and the neighborhood … and that necessitates looking at alternative sites and weighing options. This is a Trojan Horse that TT is offering to the SCA, not a kind-hearted gift.

  • No2Walentas2Trees

    Hey you people….TT is offering more than a ruined view of the BB and shell for a school. They are offering a Magic Tower that will produce jobs long after it’s built. People will come from near and far to the Magic Tower. Beans will be the new currency. Have no fear! The Magic Tower is the only way out of the recession!