Tonight at 6pm: Important District Meeting for EVCS Parents

Tonight’s CEC meeting is a must for all parents interested in the future of EVCS (that’s you, right?).

6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
at PS 20 (Essex Street just below Houston)

This is a public meeting to discuss the space constraints within our building. A strong showing by EVCS parents will help make it clear that we strongly support keeping our school in its present location, but we need additional space.

Childcare will be provided at the meeting.

For some background, and information about yesterday’s meeting, read on …

The current issue is that both EVCS and CWS are crowded in our building, but an official DOE survey on use of space will show that EVCS is more crowded, and in fact “entitled” to between two and three more classrooms. More concretely, because of a decision made a few years ago to shift entirely to single-grade classes at EVCS and the subsequent growth of our student population, our school will need three more classrooms over the next three years just to accommodate the students already in our school. (Right now EVCS has two classes per grade only through 2nd grade, and one class per grade above that, so the pipe has to widen by one class per year until we have two classes for every grade.)

Negotiations between the principals have not yielded any kind of agreement. CWS is, understandably, unwilling to voluntarily part with any classrooms — remember they also are crowded, just not as crowded.

So the DOE has offered EVCS the only space in the entire district that could accommodate us: there is room at the Corlears Junior High building on Henry Street (between Pitt and Montgomery). Currently there are two middle schools, a high school, and a high-tech public space center for use by students throughout NYC.

First the good news: there’s a lot of space, with a big gym, a real cafeteria, and an auditorium that’s not falling down.

But the bad news is significant.

First, many EVCS families would be greatly inconvenienced by a commute to the lower east side; in fact, a large majority of parents responding to Bradley’s survey yesterday indicated that they would definitely not or consider not sending their children to EVCS if the school had to move from its current neighborhood.

Second, EVCS would be sharing a space with much older kids at schools with ongoing security problems. There are routinely patrol cars on Henry Street in the morning. That’s not to say that our kids will be getting into knife fights on the playground, but without assurances of a contiguous, separate space and a dedicated entrance to the building, it’s inevitable that there would be mingling with these older students to an extent that makes everyone feel extremely uncomfortable.

This is likely the only alternative that will be presented to us. There’s just nowhere else in District 1 where there is enough space for EVCS. And with no new school construction happening in our district, this is likely to be the last alternative we’re offered for some time. Staying on 12th Street and accommodating our inevitable growth of 3 classes might entail some very hard choices.

But the upshot from last night’s meeting with parents is that the security concerns trump everything else. Robin is going to reject the move.

Now, about tonight’s meeting: essentially, both CWS and EVCS parents will be given time to talk about how awesome their school is and how crowded their kids are, so that the CEC is given, publicly, an accounting of our difficult position. With no agreement being made by our two principals, it’s likely that our case will move to a DOE department that mediates situations such as ours, and having CEC members on our side can only be helpful. Our basic case is:

  1. The space offered us is in an inconvenient location for a majority of our families … in fact our school survey showed that 75% of our population would seriously consider changing schools if we were relocated to Henry Street.
  2. The schools in M056 on Henry Street are not compatible with EVCS. There are safety issues that cannot be resolved without EVCS having its own separate “wing” of the building and separate entrance — neither of which is being offered.
  3. We are not temporary residents of M061 on 12th Street — we are a community school and have invested in our building and sunk roots in our neighborhood.
  4. We need help from the DOE and the CEC to move forward the process of redistributing space between the 3 schools based on the findings of the DOE facilities report.

A large turnout from dedicated EVCS parents will make an impression, and for that reason alone, we are all very much encouraged to attend.