Friday, May 8, 2009

Facilities Hearing About Brooklyn Prospect Charter School's Two Year Stay in Sunset Park High School

What's the issue with allowing the Brooklyn Prospect Charter School to hang out in the new Sunset Park High School building for a few years? Doesn't it make sense for a mostly empty building to be used in a closer version of its normal capacity instead of standing lonely? In as succinct an explanation as I'm able, here's what I think about the concerns I've heard floated around.

First, why would the building be mostly empty? The usual process of beginning a totally new school is to start with one (sometimes two) grades and build it up from there. It's the reverse process for phasing out a school. So the first year, the SPHS will have 9th Graders, the second year it will have 9th and 10th, and so on. That means that the new building on 4th Avenue will be at least half empty for the first two years. Seems wasteful in a time of overcrowding and energy consciousness.

Second, sounds like giving another school the space for a couple of years makes sense. What's the issue? In a perfect world of unbroken agreements and well-planned facilities and programs, there wouldn't be an issue. This is not a perfect world. It's probably not even the best of all possible worlds. And, in a community that had to fight for 30 years to get its own high school, suspicions are high when a brand new charter school gets plopped into the building that represents the hopes and hard work of the neighborhood. Sure, you (meaning the Department of Education and the City) say it's only for two years...but times are uncertain right now. What happens if 18 months go by and it doesn't look like there's another viable space? How would that affect the high school and its growth? Once the charter school is in the space, it will be a lot harder to remove it when the time comes. Other communities have these concerns as well.

Any other issues? Off the top of my head (and unsubstantiated by official information), there is also the issue of a facility being used by two entirely separate entities. The ages of the students differ, the philosophies governing the schools differ, and the enthusiasm for the location of the new Sunset Park High School is probably much different from the feelings the Brooklyn Prospect Charter School has for where it will spend (at least) two years.

Anyway, the hearing during which many of these concerns will be aired is coming up. Parents and concerned community members in District 15 will have a chance to speak up with their questions, worries, and support.

Notice of Facilities Hearing

Date: Tuesday May 12, 2009
Time: Speaker Registration: 6:00 PM – 6:30 PM
Presentation & Comments: 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM
Location: I.S. 136 Charles O. Dewey 4004 4th Avenue

Event : Public Hearing - Proposed facilities hearing regarding Brooklyn Prospect Charter School

Details: The New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE) has proposed that beginning in September 2009 Brooklyn Prospect Charter School , a new charter school, be temporarily incubated in the Sunset Park High School building for the 2009-10 and 2010-11 school years. Brooklyn Prospect Charter School will start with grade 6 in September 2009 and add a grade each year to eventually seeks to serve grades 6-12 by 2015, only grades 6 & 7 are proposed to be located in the Sunset Park High School, grade 6 in September 2009 & grades 6 & 7 in September 2010. At the end of the 2010-11 school year Brooklyn Prospect would move out of the Sunset Park High School building.

Brooklyn Prospect Charter School is authorized by the State University of New York (SUNY). SUNY & the NYCDOE will facilitate the hearing and solicit public comment.

About Brooklyn Prospect Charter School :
The mission of Brooklyn Prospect Charter School is to provide a rigorous academic environment in which all students achieve excellence. Brooklyn Prospect Charter School will ensure that its students gain the critical skills and knowledge to enter and excel in college and the competitive world beyond Speaker comment is welcomed, speakers must register. Written comments will also be collected on the day of the hearing and can be submitted via email to:

Pursuant to Education Law 2857(1), the authorizer of a charter school shall hold a public hearing to solicit comment from the community in connection with any proposal for the siting of a charter school in a public school building.

Office of Charter Schools +1 212 374 5419

1 comment:

vee said...

Did anyone go to this? What was the out come?