DOE: PAVE can stay at P.S. 15

The PAVE Academy Charter School is staying put in P.S. 15’s building.

The city Department of Education’s Panel for Educational Policy, which counts schools Chancellor Joel Klein and several mayoral appointees as members, voted to keep PAVE where it is despite opposition from P.S. 15’s teachers and parents.

“It is a colossal disappointment. It’s a slap in the face,” said Alex Deruvsh, a teacher at P.S. 15, located at 71 Sullivan Street.

P.S. 15 staffers and parents had wanted PAVE to abide by its original agreement to vacate P.S. 15’s building this June. Now, PAVE may stay in the building for up to three more years until its own location is ready. The DOE initially proposed keeping PAVE in P.S. 15 for five years but made the change to three shortly before the PEP vote. Deruvsh believes the decrease was made “so they can act like they’re doing us some kind of favor.”

Spencer Robertson, founder and executive director of PAVE, has insisted that the charter school is eager to move to its own location but glad to stay at P.S. 15 for now.

“We’re obviously very excited and relieved because it lets us focus back on our program rather than worrying where we’re going to be,” he said.

Less relieved is Rosa Vega, whose son attends second grade at P.S. 15.

“We don’t want to lose the school. We’re afraid that these people are going to control the building in the near future since they are going to be expanding,” she said. “This is really our school.”

Borough President Marty Markowitz criticized the DOE for keeping PAVE in P.S. 15 longer than planned.

“I have received more than a thousand signatures from the P.S. 15 community asking that the DOE live up to the original agreement, yet the DOE continues to change the ground rules whenever they want,” he said. “The agreement arranged between PAVE and P.S. 15 is a textbook example of how not to go about placing a charter school in an existing school.”

With the prospect of spending another three years together, PAVE and P.S. 15 must find a way to interact civilly.

“This should be done peacefully,” Vega said. “We’re a well-mannered school and we treat everyone with respect. We’ll open the door for them but they won’t do that for us.”

Robertson contended, “Our staff has cordial relationships with their staff. A lot of our students have cousins, brothers and sisters in P.S. 15 and vice versa.”

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