Wednesday, February 8, 2012

P.S. 8 Parents Make Strong Showing at Hearing About New Middle School at Westinghouse

The vast majority of the speakers at Monday night's hearing about the expansion of Brooklyn Heights' P.S. 8 into Westinghouse High School were P.S. 8 parents, passionate about the need for a middle school.

Councilman Levin and BHA's Judy Stanton testified in favor of the new middle school, and Sen. Squadron and Assemblywoman Joan Millman voiced their support through statements.

The planned middle school would take over some of the facilities at Westinghouse. The rather grand Downtown Brooklyn building facing Tillary Street is running at 79 percent capacity, with three schools on site -- Westinghouse, City-Poly and a special ed school.

Westinghouse Parents Not So Thrilled

Far fewer Westinghouse parents testified. Those who did, however, were strongly against the co-location, and their fears were magnified by the DOE's projection that enrollment at the poorly-performing Westinghouse would shrink by 200 students over the next couple of years.

According to the Brooklyn Eagle, the city says the decrease is a "strategic" reduction with the goal of focusing support on a smaller number of students to improve student achievement.

Westinghouse parents also warned P.S. 8 parents that there might be problems in allowing young middle schoolers to mix with high schoolers -- and that high school students "might be having sex in the hallway."

P.S. 8 Principal Seth Phillips tried to throw balm on troubled water. "We’re not coming to take over the building, we’re coming to be part of the community," he said.

The Panel for Educational Policy vote is Thursday.

Many more details about the hearing at the Brooklyn Eagle.

Photo by MK Metz

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