P.S. 15 vs. PAVE

Red Hook parents and teachers took to the street to demand that the PAVE Academy Charter School vacate P.S. 15’s building.

The group rallied outside of P.S. 15, 71 Sullivan Street, before a public hearing about the possibility of PAVE remaining in P.S. 15 for up to five more years.

“Expanding PAVE within our school is unfair and detrimental,” said John Battis, a parent of a P.S. 15 student.

“I have seen P.S. 15 grow dramatically over the last nine years and know firsthand the valuable services and programs we provide to the Red Hook community. The proposal to extend PAVE’s stay beyond the two year agreement is an outrage and devastating to our community. It will destroy Red Hook’s AAA public school.” said Marie Sirotniak, a teacher at P.S. 15.

Although PAVE was expected to leave P.S. 15 this June, the charter school won’t have its own building for several years.

The city Department of Education (DOE) says there is enough room in P.S. 15 for both schools since P.S. 15 is 66 percent utilized. P.S. 15 parents and educators say that percentage “does not reflect reality.”

“What the DOE is proposing will hurt my three children who attend P.S. 15 and, in particular, our special needs population. Children should not have to receive services in closets and hallways. The DOE should not be treating our children like they can be thrown away like garbage.” said Lydia Bellahcene, a P.S. 15 parent.

Spencer Robertson, PAVE’s founder and executive director, has insisted that the charter school is ready for its own space.

“Our interests are very aligned — you want us out, we want to be in our own facility as soon as possible, and we will be,” he has told P.S. 15 parents. “In the interim period, we ask that we be considered to continue our co-location inside of P.S. 15.”

The DOE’s Panel for Educational Policy (PEP) will meet on January 26 at 6 p.m. at Brooklyn Technical High School, 29 Fort Greene Place, to vote on whether or not to extend PAVE’s stay at P.S. 15. The Concerned Advocates for Public Education (CAPE), which is comprised of P.S. 15 teachers and parents, will rally at 4 p.m. across the street from Brooklyn Tech. Visit www.capeducation.blogspot.com to remain updated.