The Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council

State Education Commissioner overturns DOE decision to co-locate charter school with P.S. 9
Posted: April 1, 2011 - 9:39am

A group of parent advocates in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, has won an appeal to the New York State Commissioner of Education David M. Steiner requesting annulment of the vote by the Panel on Educational Policy (PEP) that would co-locate Brooklyn East Collegiate Charter School with P.S. 9 and M.S. 571 in building K009 at 80 Underhill Avenue, Brooklyn, beginning in fall of 2011.

In response to a petition filed by seven parents on behalf of eight P.S. 9 Teunis G. Bergen Elementary School students, the Commissioner found that the DOE did not comply with New York Education Law, and ordered that “the resolution of the PEP approving the co-location of the Brooklyn East Collegiate Charter School in the K009 building is annulled.”

The Commissioner further ordered the DOE be prohibited from moving forward with any aspect of the proposal regarding the co-location until DOE complies with the requirements of New York Education Law. Specifically, the Commissioner found that the DOE’s Building Utilization Plan for the co-location failed to address “how the proposed allocation of shared spaces ensures equitable and comparable use for impacted students.” Such shared spaces include the cafeteria and gymnasium.

Commissioner Steiner's decision requires the City to file a new plan prior to moving forward with co-locating a charter school at P.S. 9. Because a new plan must be approved six months prior to co-location, it is unlikely Brooklyn East Collegiate will be able to begin classes at the P.S. 9 building in the fall. However, the phasing out of M.S. 571, also approved by the PEP, will move forward as planned.

PHNDC has opposed the closure of M.S. 571, and has called on the City to provide a plan that would continue to maintain a zoned public middle school in Prospect Heights.