Victory at PS 84K: Tweed Backs Down


    Please share with all of the people with whom you shared the earlier email to thank them. The support of the people on your e-mailing list was overwhelming, and the DOE officials acknowledged that “their phone was ringing of the hook all day.” They called it off. I had forgotten how many good friends I had. And, thanks for those, like Luis Reyes, who immediately defended the integrity of the movement when someone questioned it – as well as Mickey, Luis Garden, Angelo Falcon and Lillian.
    -Jaime Estades

    We just had a meeting with James Quail, Superintendent of District 14, John White, Chief Operating Officer of the DOE’s Office of New Schools and Portfolio Development, and Olivia Ellis, Director of School Support for DOE’s Office of Parent Engagement. John White began the meeting by stating that “there is not going to be a new school sited within P.S. 84 next year.” He went on to state that this decision does not mean that the Department of Education is giving up its belief that parents need to have more educational options within District 14, but that it is clear that there is not community support for placing the proposed elementary school within the existing PS84 elementary school’s building.

    When White stated that he understood that PS 84 wanted “to protect the space within the school,” he was told by the parents that “we are not trying to protect the space, we are trying to protect our children.” He promised that there will be no new school sited within PS84 within 2008-09, but he would not promise that there would not be a separate program or school in 2009-10. We consider this a temporary victory. Olivia Ellis stated that because PS 84 is such a unique situation, with issues such as gentrification, such a proposal cannot be viable at this point, while alluding to Superintendent Quail’s agreement with the “gentrifiers”.

    After being promised that there will be no school within PS 84, the PTA decided to declare a victory in halting any plans of a new school as planned by the “gentrifiers” and the Klein administration for the academic year 2008-09, taking into consideration that there will be a new mayoral administration which hopefully will be more sensitive to the educational needs of minority students not only in Williamsburg, but in New York City as a whole. The PTA emphatically requested that Superintendent Quail and Mr. White come to the school or provide a written apology to all of the parents of PS 84, particularly the 350 parents who met with Quail on January 24 when he described to them the plan for a new elementary school within PS 84. White and Quail refused to apologize.

    The parents communicated to Olivia Ellis that an apology must come from the Department of Education to all the parents of PS 84, particularly to the more than 350 concerned parents who attended the meeting last Thursday and heard Quail describe a the plan to displace the children of PS 84.

    THANK YOU AGAIN FOR YOUR SUPPORT! We received phone calls from CNN, Daily News, ABC, Post and others that I could not get because my battery wore out while I was in Albany today. There were many groups and organizations which knew about the issue and wanted to join us for the Press Conference on Wednesday. We are calling off the press conference based on tonight's agreement, and instead will have a celebration and full report to the parents next week.

    Thanks again,
    Jaime Estades

    See ednotes' previous posting on PS 84 here.

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Victory at PS 84K: Tweed Backs Down

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