Our local public school, P.S. 9, has undergone a resurgence during the last few years. Its pre-school has become so popular that even zoned families are no longer guaranteed a spot. This year, the school had enough kindergarten enrollment to add a 6th class. Local parents have been increasingly involved with the school and have worked with the school to obtain a new library and, for this fall, a new playground.
For the last decade, P.S. 9 has shared the 80 Underhill Avenue building with a small middle school, M.S. 571. When the city Dept. of Education (DOE) decides that extra space exists in a school building, it houses schools together. Last month, the DOE announced its plan to phase out M.S. 571 for poor performance. The DOE has proposed putting a year-old charter middle school into the building. The charter school, Brooklyn East Collegiate Charter School, is currently located in Crown Heights. By most accounts, it is likely to be a successful, disciplined middle school.
Others in the the P.S. 9 community, however, prefer that the space be left for the expected growth of PS 9 as an elementary school. They would like to see the campus returned to an elementary-only space, as it was for decades. The school has been growing quickly and already could use more space. The school would benefit greatly from having to itself the cafeteria, gymnasium, auditorium and library space—currently, because of sharing space with ONE school, the lower grades eat lunch at 10:30 a.m. and the school occasionally holds gym in the auditorium. For the next year, P.S. 9 would have to share these facilities with TWO schools.
P.S. 9's principal is holding a breakfast meeting THIS FRIDAY MORNING, JANUARY 7, at 7:45 a.m., to discuss concerns about the proposed changes. All local residents are welcome to attend.