UFT President Randi Weingarten Signs on with some 100 more so far to

July 20, 2006

Dear Mayor Bloomberg and Chancellor Klein:

As parents, educators and advocates who understand the overriding need to eliminate overcrowding in our schools and reduce class size, we strongly support the efforts to save PS 109 in East Harlem as a school rather than give the building away to developers.

According to the Coalition to Save PS 109, this building could be used to provide 1,200 seats for our children rather than 64 artist lofts. The Community Education Council for District 4 has voted that this school should be included in the capital plan and returned to the community as a school.

The schools in the district are already overcrowded. In a survey done by the East Harlem Coalition, chaired by Reverend Norm Eddy, 82% of District 4 principals reported that space was a serious problem in their schools. In fact, nearby PS 72 is so overcrowded it has to lease space for an annex in a former school building, now privately owned, after the building was sold by the Board of Education in the 1980's. And yet, according to the Department of Education, there are no new schools in the capital plan to be built in the district over the next five years.

Moreover, whatever the situation in the district's elementary schools, our high school students can travel anywhere near public transportation and 75% of them currently attend overcrowded schools. P.S. 109 could be the site of a new major high school or two new small high schools, thus relieving the pressure on other, already overcrowded high schools. Another feasible use of the P.S.109 building would be to allow for the expansion of the full-day pre-K initiative recently approved by you and the City Council.

All of these uses would be particularly apt for a neighborhood characterized by a young, growing and under-served immigrant community.

In fact, since education is your stated top priority, we urge you to adopt the following principle: until every child in our city attends an uncrowded school with smaller classes, no NYC school building should be sold or given
away to be used for other purposes.

Yours sincerely,

Eugenia Simmons-Taylor, President of President's Council, District 4
Leonie Haimson, Class Size Matters
Luis O. Reyes, Ph.D
Barbara A. Grant, River East Parent's Association, District 4
Randi Weingarten, President, United Federation of Teachers
Gwen Goodwin, The Coalition to Save PS 109
Edward Henry, East Harlem resident, voter and taxpayer 
Tim Johnson, Chairman, Chancellor's Parent Advisory Council (CPAC)
Donald Reddick, Parent PS 83 District 4
Elender Foxe, PTA  PS 171, District 4 PC, CPAC Recording Secretary
Bill Lynch, President, Bill Lynch Associates
Charles Jordan, President- United Parents Association
Martha Cid, Manhattan resident, voter and taxpayer 
Rev Norm Eddy, Chair of The East Harlem Coalition to Improve our Public Schools
Angela & Giles Smith, Parents of 5 children in District 4
Diana Marenfeld, Citywide Council for Special Education
Servia Silva, UFT District 4 representative
Tina Reed, Parent of two children in District 4
Hon. Lisa A. Pressley, Assoc. District Leader 68th AD West
Aida Pagan, Treasurer- District 4 Presidents' Council
Carlton Evans, PTA President- CPEMS District 4                                                    
Thomas L. Vance, Jr., Parent of two children in District 4
Corinna Lindenberg, EarthSchool PA, District 1 PC, CPAC Corresponding Secretary
Betsy Combier, Editor- Parent Advocates
Cecilia Blewer, ICOPE
Dawn Thomas, Parent of two children in District 4
David Wolfson, public school parent and New York City taxpayer
Norman Scott, The Independent Community of Educators & Education Notes
Carolyn M. Birden, Elected Representative, WBAI Local Station Board
Alicia Goudie, East Harlem Resident, voter and taxpayer
Dakota Russell, Student, Class Size Matters
John M. Beam, Executive Director, National Center for Schools and Communities, Fordham University
Leticia Perez, Parent District 4
Barry Weinbrom- Director After School Activity Programs
Diane O'Donnell, District 31 Parent of a student attending a HS at 167% capacity
Manuel Castro, Lead Organizer, Latin American Integration Center
Olga Mendez, Former State Senator
Juliet Luther, Bilingual Educator/ESL Specialist
Steven G. Ungar, former public school parent
Randy Wgman, parent, District 31
Anthony C. Romeo, parent, IS 89
Karen V. Romeo, PTA Exec. Bd., IS 89
Julius Dixson, Jr
Susan Crawford, The Right to Read Project, D-3 parent
Shelley Grant, teacher, P.S. 51
Rocco Rella, District 15, parent
Guy de Baere, public school parent
Lynne Glasner, M.A., educational consultant
Robin Moore, parent District 3
Robert Schwartz-Parent, PS 75 District 3
Josephine Wan, District 2 Parent
Lesley Halliday, Parent
Yvonne Spivack, Parent of student at I.C.E.
Marshall Berman, Distinguished Professor CCNY/CUNY
Shellie Sclan, Parent, MS 54 Manhattan
David Demnitz,  Parent, PS 6, Teacher
Deborah Kaufmann, I.C.E. Parent 
Lori A. Bores, Vice-President PTA  P.S. 6
Victoria Dallas-Stephenson, Muscota New School 
Judy O'Brien, District 15 Parent and Educator
Debbie Fine, teacher PS 79Q District 25 
Lorraine Levey, PTA Executive Board Member P.S. 183 District 2 
Dilsia Pena, Learning Leader-volunteer
Walter Goodman parent of 2 children, one at LaGuardia HS and one in special ed 
Fariba Behnegar, PS166 parent 
Majid Nassiri, PS166 parent
Vicki Madden, parent of students at Brooklyn New School and Beacon High School
Teri Schlesinger, Parent of three children in District 25, District 30 and District 2
Sandy Wavrick, Parent, District 15/Region 8 
Sandra Stratton -Gonzalez, Parent and Dance Educator 
Mary van Valkenburg, PTA Budget Officer, Bard HS Early College
Valarie Bennett, Parent, District 3, MS 54 
Gabriella Gruder-Poni, Advantage Testing
Diana O'Brien, District 2 Representative, and parent of 2, one in a class of 27
Ronnie Malandrakis, Parent Coordinator - PS107Q 
Emily Fano, G & T Parent, PS 166
J Napoli, Teacher D30  
John M. Wetherhold and Xu Zi  parents of Sherley in middle school district 2
Isaac Carmignani, Past Co-President PS122Q, Parent, Treasurer D30 President's Council     
Leticia Padro
Deirdre Fisher-Kemp, Parent / Project Manager, NYS Affordable Housing Corporation
Paula Rogovin, Teacher, 33 years, The Manhattan New School
Rachel R Rachel List, District 1 parent
Bonnie Maitenaz, Parent, PS 41 
John & Judy Bresnahan, Parents, District 2, PS 41 & MS 255
Roseann Marcus - Parent and PTA Representative - Talent Unlimited H.S.
Marian Trupiano Former CPAC Representative District 15 
Autumn Lucas, BASE High School
Ruth Lilienstein-Gatton, parent, District 6
Leslie Salzman, Brooklyn parent with children attending public schools in Brooklyn and Manhattan  
Bernadette Knox  Parent Manhattan
Julia Crislip, Parent District 2
Pamela Wheaton, Advocates for Children
Mary  McGregor, Treasurer, SLT, PAC of IS/PS 165
Karin P.E. Gustafson, parent of child in Manhattan public school
Joan O'Mahoney, Teacher, parent and Learning Leader Brooklyn, Region 6


CC: Speaker Christine Quinn, Comptroller William C. Thompson, Councilmember Robert Jackson, Councilmember Melissa Mark Viverito, Speaker Sheldon Silver, Assemblymember Cathy Nolan, State Senator Jose M. Serrano, Assemblymember Adam Clayton Powell IV, Community Board 11, Congressman Charles Rangel, and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer