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Charter replaces defective lights while city fails to do so for public school students in same building

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  • Leonie Haimson
    Yet more inequities re PCB dripping lights between public schools and co-located Success Academy charters. This article does not explain if Eva got a building
    Message 1 of 1 , May 14, 2013
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      Yet more inequities re PCB dripping lights between public schools and co-located Success Academy charters.  This article does not explain if Eva got a building permit and environmental permit before removing her lights – as she did not in Brooklyn.

       

      www.nydailynews.com/charter-school-sees-light-article-1.1342953


      Charter replaces defective lights while city fails to do so for public school students in same building 

      Bronx Success Academy, founded by Eva Moskowitz, pre-emptively removes toxic lighting rather than waiting for city. But two public schools in same building must wait until summer.

      By Jennifer H. Cunningham / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

      Published: Monday, May 13, 2013, 6:56 PM

      Updated: Tuesday, May 14, 2013, 9:04 AM

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      Lighting fixtures like these leak toxic chemicals. But a charter school that shares space in a Morris Ave. building got its lights replaced while public school students suffered.

      A South Bronx charter school founded by a former city councilwoman replaced its city-issued toxic lighting fixtures by itself — rather than waiting for a Department of Education retrofit for the public schools in the same building this summer, the Daily News has learned.

      The Bronx Success Academy, founded by Eva Moskowitz, spent its own money to replace the lights — which are leaking with cancer-causing chemicals — while two other schools in the same Morris Ave. building have to wait.

      “I think it’s terrible” that the city is taking so long, Dean Gross, a science teacher at M.S. 203, which shares space with the charter school, Bronx Academy of Letters and P.S. 168.

      Gross said he’s forced to teach students in a windowless classroom with a poor ventilation system and no air conditioner — and lighting fixtures that leak polychlorinated biphenyls, which are linked to cancer, reproductive and neurological problems, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

      “Our kids in the building have so many issues to begin with,” Gross added. “We’re the number one asthma district in the country. This does not help. The teachers are dragging. They’ve got headaches and stomach pains.”

      Union health and safety officials are to meet with the city Tuesday to discuss how Success Charter Network removed the tainted lighting fixtures.

      The Bronx Academy of Letters, one of four schools in the building, had its lights replaced last summer as part of a classroom redesign, according to the city.

      Marge Feinberg, a spokeswoman for the Department of Education, said the building’s remaining tainted lights would be switched out this summer. Feinberg added the city spent more than $1.7 million upgrading the three public schools.

      “The funding was spent on Smartboards, bathroom upgrades, laptop carts, drinking fountains, reconfiguring classroom space for Bronx Academy of Letters, and new classroom doors,” Feinberg said.

      Outside the building last week, staff said they want all of the lights replaced immediately.

      “We’re suffering,” said one staff member from P.S. 168. “It’s bad. I don’t know about the air quality with these contaminated lights.”

      But Gross said he worries most about his students.

      "We feel horrible for the kids,” Gross said. “It’s almost liked the city and the DOE abandoned them.

      "It’s not a good situation.”

      It's the same situation for schools in city buildings, whether they are charters or regular district schools. A source told the News that roughly a dozen Success Academy's schools currently housed in city buildings still have the PCB-laden lighting.

      "We hope the city moves quickly to address this issue, so we can return the focus to teaching and learning, where it belongs," said Kerri Lyon, a spokeswoman for Success Academy.

      jcunningham@...


      Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/bronx/charter-school-sees-light-article-1.1342953#ixzz2TI4pUBA2

       

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