Tag Archives: Springfield Gardens

Two Queens schools may be targeted for closure

| brennison@queenscourier.com

A month after new Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott put underperforming middle schools on notice, a list of 20 schools targeted for potential closure was released.

Every school but one on the list received a “D” or an “F” on the school progress reports that were released in September.

Two Queens schools find their name on the list – P.S. 215 Lucretia Mott in Woodmere and P.S. 181 Brookfield in Springfield Gardens.

P.S. 215 in Woodmere received an “F” on the most recent progress report. The other Queens school, P.S. 181 in Springfield Gardens, received a “D.”

Minorities comprise over 96 percent of the student body at each school and 90 percent of the students at P.S. 215 qualify for free lunch.

The schools each performed one grade worse than they did on last year’s progress report. P.S. 215 received a “D” on last year’s report, while P.S. 181 received a “C.”

Though the schools received low grades, parents do not agree they should close.

“[It] is a real good school, they learn a lot there and I don’t think they should close it,” said Mira Calbert, mother of three at P.S. 181.

“I hope they keep it open,” added Paul Munroe, father of two at P.S. 181.

The schools on the list are only in the first stage of evaluations. Any decisions on which schools will close will not come until mid-December at the earliest. An additional list with high schools will be released this month following their progress reports.

Each school on the list will be handled differently, depending on the needs of the school.

“The goal of these discussions is to gain a better understanding of where weaknesses in their educational strategy lie and why they are struggling,” Deputy Chancellor Marc Sternberg said in a statement.

Schools that are targeted for closure will be phased out and replaced, not closed down completely.

Last year’s list included 12 Queens schools – none of which were closed.

– Additional reporting by Ricky Casiano

School aides protest pink slips

| nkarimi@queenscourier.com

As Local 372 members return to their jobs, bureaucrats at the Department of Education (DOE) are pre¬paring pink slips and layoff notices for nearly 800 school aides.

“During the budget negotiations this June, the Chancellor [Dennis Walcott] called Lillian Roberts [DC 37 executive director] to try to work with DC-37 to avert DOE layoffs. Unfortunately, the union would not agree to any real savings that could have saved these jobs, so schools took a larger budget cut than might have otherwise been necessary, and these layoffs are the result,” said Barbara Morgan, Deputy Press Secretary for the DOE.

In order to protest the loss of jobs for school aides, community coordinators, health aides and family workers, Assemblymember William Scarborough, Local 372, teachers, parents, elected officials and labor leaders gathered in Springfield Gardens at P.S. 15 the Jackie Robinson School, on Friday, September 23.

“Schools cannot afford to lose these workers. They formed a support network with them and in order for teachers to teach they need this network,” said Scarborough.

The protest, which drew about 75 people, was a means to give Mayor Michael Bloomberg a message — “Save Our Schools! Save Our Communities.”

“I am deeply concerned about these planned layoffs. These layoffs have threatened the most vulnerable in our city, many of them single mothers with children, and will have a devastating ripple effect on our economy. They must be rolled back,” said Scarborough.

Job losses will be most felt in areas such as East New York, Brownsville, Williamsburg, Washington Heights, and the South Bronx; places that are already in need of enhanced social services and suffer with higher unemployment rates, according to President of Local 372 Santos Crespo.

Over the course of the past three years, unions and schools have lost more than 1,600 school and health aides, according to Crespo.

“I know the city is planning an ongoing effort to save these jobs, but there are other things they can cut back on instead of laying off these members,” said Scarborough.