Un-charter-ed territory at PS 15 • Brooklyn Paper

Un-charter-ed territory at PS 15

Parents at PS 15, an elementary school on Sullivan Street in Red Hook, are fighting a city plan to house a charter school inside their building.
The Brooklyn Paper / Tom Callan

A second schoolyard fight is underway between a new Red Hook charter school, which needs at least an extra year in PS 15 until its own facility is built, and the public school’s parents and teachers who want total control of the entire Sullivan Street elementary building.

The PAVE Academy, which opened last fall with two grades inside PS 15, agreed to be out of the Patrick Daly School building for the 2010–11 school year, but it has not found a permanent site, let alone begun construction on its own K–8 school.

“There’s a fear that we’re never going to leave, and I hope we can put that anxiety to rest once we purchase a facility,” said Spencer Robertson, the school’s founder. Robertson said a deal could be imminent.

“And then, at that point, there will be some peace of mind.”

But until then, the controversy continues to roil.

In its first year, PAVE took four classrooms, two offices and another room. It will add two more classes this fall for incoming kindergarteners.

PS 15, the host, has only 377 students in a building designed for 835 pupils — a rarity in a district where many schools exceed capacity.

Still, its teachers were eager to regain classrooms they used for a science lab, performing art space and a special education office. Some said the cohabitation has been tough.

“The issue is the same old issue. They came in here and it’s really difficult. We don’t have separate wings,” said a teacher who did not want to be identified.

The renewed controversy is similar to the conflict that erupted last year when parents and teachers first learned that the building would be split between the two schools.

The Department of Education said the sharing has gone relatively smoothly and that if the PAVE Academy asks for an extension of its time in the Daly School — named for its former principal killed in a gang shootout 16 years ago — the city would review the amount of space available.

“We haven’t made any determination about the school staying or growing,” said Melody Meyer, a spokeswoman for the Department of Education.

A huge crowd of parents attended Wednesday night’s meeting. Here, Nahisha McCoy makes a point.
The Brooklyn Paper / Allyse Pulliam

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