RE: [nyceducationnews] RE: In the midst of budget cuts, Education Dept. plans $3M renovation for UWS charter school
So they either break the law, or if they comply it means a huge waste of money.
Of course, it’s a huge waste of money anyway.
Do you think the DOE just loves to be sued? They certainly act like they do.
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Actually, the EIS engages in pure sleight-of-hand. After quoting the matching expenditure requirement, DOE then says that “it is already engaged in restructuring the M470 facility to accommodate multiple school organizations into an educational campus. Facilities needs for SACS would be completed as part of this restructuring.” Once the project design is completed, “DOE would determine whether it qualified for the matching provision above.”
You can guess who will be left holding the bag.
Paola de Kock
It is fair to assume that the $500k on the separate cafeteria is only the tip of the iceberg and that in fact it will cost millions more to bring this school in, even before considering the matching funds. The DOE has promised Eva her own entrance (without metal detectors that the other students are subject to), new classrooms, and perhaps most important, “separate and contiguous space” (while the high schools must make due). Problem is they don’t explain how they will create this space and what it will cost. You can bet however, that, it will cost plenty to segregate completely her 4 and 5 year olds’ in a building that includes a phasing out high school, a transfer high school, and three additional high schools (including 2 with a high special needs population).
That said, many of us believe that the DOE has absolutely no intention of adhering to the charter law and matching any of these funds for the other five schools. They reference the law in the EIS – and told the principals about it at a closed door meeting in order to buy them off - but they have promised absolutely nothing in the EIS other than to build Eva’s cafeteria. In fact, instead they give themselves an out to the law by stating in the EIS that some of the capital work for “the new school” will come from an unnamed pool of funds that already exists to provide for a 5th school and to upgrade the building for all its tenants (but which is nowhere to be found in the capital plan). If this isn’t a set up to get around the charter law, I don’t know what is.
And as Gale Brewer points out, none of this considers the absolute waste inherent in undoing much of Brandeis’ $22 million in recent renovations for new labs, music rooms, and other facilities as part of the plan to turn those rooms back into classrooms and to segregate Upper West Success.
Beyond the capital costs, what of the educational and emotional costs to the 1600 predominantly special needs high school kids crammed into their separate quarters and turned into second class citizens in their own buildings in order to ensure that they don’t get in the way of, or otherwise interact with, the 450 charter elementary students?
Oh, and by the way, following on the hearings, comments, petitions and overwhelming testimony against these expansions, the DOE did suggest one change to Eva’s plans: Upper West Success should jettison its charter requirement to prioritize ELL and at risk students in D3 and citywide, and instead give absolutely priority to D3 students. And so the DOE is finally coming clean with their intentions: squeeze out high needs, predominantly black and hispanic high school kids in newly established schools, and instead use that public space and massive public funds to set up an all-white private school for the Upper West Side. Exactly as presaged in Eva’s ubiquitous Upper West Success marketing brochures – “the public school alternative to a private education.”
The whole enterprise is so corrupt and disgusting.
dynamite reporting by Rachel Monahan; the $500K DOE promised to build a separate (!!) cafeteria for Eva’s charter actually means DOE will have to spend another $3 M on the newly renovated school, since the new law requires equal spending for all co-located schools. (another point is that the $500K is not reimbursable by the state, which does not giving matching capital funds for charter schools.)
At a time of massive budget cuts and overcrowding , including a proposed 20% cut to the already inadequate capital plan, spending another $3 M so that Eva can recruit upper white middle class kids so their parents can avoid them having to attend their zoned integrated schools looks absurd. Who is making these decisions now that Klein is gone? Is it Suransky? Is it Sternberg? And what is the source of Eva’s leverage over them?
As to the issue of the so-called “demand” for the charter school – engineered through a huge and expensive advertising campaign, by means of multiple mailings and online ads – the president of the Frank McCourt PTA points out that they have nearly 1000 applications for 108 spots in that school's second year.
In the midst of budget cuts, Education Dept. plans $3M renovation for UWS charter school
Tuesday, February 1st 2011, 4:00 AM
Lombard for News
Brandeis High School's campus just went through a pricey upgrade, but the Education Department plans to spend another $3 million on renovations for charter schools in the building.
- New spot eyed for school on W. Side for charter
- PS 106 students move out of moldy trailers to main building
- Ed Dept. subtracts funds for added kids
- Ed. Dept. misspent $283M earmarked for needy schools: report
- State finds special ed woes continue at cited Bed-Stuy school
- Pre-K slot trouble zone
The Brandeis High School campus just underwent a $20 million upgrade, but needs a separate cafeteria and new classrooms so Upper West Success can open with kindergarten and first grade there next fall.
"After all this money, the school is in really good shape," said City Councilwoman Gale Brewer (D-Manhattan).
The new renovations are "a waste of taxpayer money. If another high school came in, you wouldn't need to spend $3 million."
The major face-lift would come even as Mayor Bloomberg ordered city agencies to develop plans for slashing construction budgets by 20%.
The plan to move Upper West Success into Brandeis has been sharply debated. The school is run by former Councilwoman Eva Moskowitz, whose expanding charter network and perceived influence with the Department of Education has made her a magnet for criticism.
The plan faces a vote Tuesday night at the Education Department's Panel for Educational Policy.
Brandeis' last high school class will graduate next year, and four new small high schools already share space at the facility on W. 84th St.
Parents and students say they're worried a charter school with high-level connections will eventually take control of precious extra space such as arts rooms and science labs.
In documents, the city Education Department says it will spend $500,000 for the charter school fixup.
Under a state law passed last year, the agency must match the amount spent by or for a charter school for the five other schools in the building.
City Education Department officials said they planned to spend millions on renovations in the under-used building no matter what.
"We often restructure big buildings to better house small schools, and this work would have happened regardless of what the fifth school going into Brandeis was," said department spokesman Jack Zarin-Rosenfeld.
Upper West Success officials, who say they have 600 applications for just 188 spots, support the decision to locate their elementary school at Brandeis.
"Hundreds of schools are co-located in DOE buildings and we're so glad that in these hard economic times that space is being well used," said spokeswoman Jenny Sedlis of the Success Charter Network.
She noted that for 108 spots there have been 954 applications in the school's second year.
"My point is there is much greater demand for high schools. I don't think the desires for parents of preschoolers should outweigh the desires of parents of 14-year-olds," Steglich said.