Summary of our August 27, 2007, Meeting with NYC Mayor's Office

based on notes by Mr. Edward Henry
of the Coalition to Save P.S. 109

In attendance:

For the Coalition to Save PS 109:

  • Ms. Gwen Goodwin, Chair
  • Ms. Leslie Bernardez, Parents' Coordinator
  • Bob Cabrera, Community Architect
  • Rev. Norman Eddy, Advisor and Coordinator of East Harlem School Overcrowding Survey
  • Mr. Edward Henry, Community Coordinator
  • Joel Meyers, Advisor

For the Mayor's Office and the Department of Education (DOE):

  • Mr. Dennis Walcott, Deputy Mayor
  • Mr. Terence Tolbert, Intergovernmental Affairs Executive Director, DOE

Meeting opened at 1:35pm.

Rev. Norman Eddy gave copies documenting and detailing results of the survey he coordinated on school overcrowding in East Harlem, to Deputy Mayor Walcott and Executive Director Terence Tolbert, each.

Gwen Goodwin gavce an overview of the historyof P.S. 109. After the history had been reprised, Gwen read the statistical reports from Leonie Haimson of Class Size Matters, which collected the statistics, and the United Federation of Teachers.

Mr. Tolbert then stated that there was only a 75% utilization of school resources in District #4. "There is not an overcrowding issue in District #4," Mr. Walcott then added. "It would not be cost-effective to renovate P.S. 109."

Mr. Meyers questioned the methodology of the "Blue Book", on which any denials of overcrowding are based. He explained that the figures are based on the number of seats, and does not take into account, or covers up, that seats have often been added by displacing cluster spaces that are required for specialized uses such as music, art, science lab and physical gym instruction and activities.

Rev. Eddy and Ms. Bernardez each referred to four questions relative to P.S. 109, and Rev. Eddy then posed these questions:

  1. Rev. Eddy: Have the (DOE) Chancellor and his staff received and read thed report and petitions to every District #4 school by the Ast Harlem Clalition to Improvce Our Public Schools?
  2. Leslie Bernardez: Who on the Department of Education's staff has avisited every school in East Harlem and personally talked to principals.
  3. Rev. Eddy: Has the Department of Education looked onto the following figures, and if so, who has done so, and what have they found?
  4. Mr. Bob Cabrera: Has the Department of Education calculated the cost of building a new school to accommodate the growing number of students? Has the DOE compared the cost of building a nedw school with the lesser cost of renovating P.S. 109?

Mr. Walcott and Mr. Tolbert both acknowleged thnat the Chancellor had received copies of the petitions.

However, they insisted that at the present time, no monies are allocated for P.S. 109 restoration.

Mr. Walcott did, however, agree to visit District #4, and see first hand the overcrowded conditions in the public schools. As of this date, no time frame has been established for this visit.

Meeting adjourned at 2:42pm.