The community has spoken.
Often chanting 辰ldquo;We will win辰rdquo; during the rally, hundreds of parents and community activists rallied at PS/IS 308 yesterday evening, voicing their disapproval at the DOE辰rsquo;s plans to make the school a co-location with a Teaching Firms of America Charter School.辰nbsp;
Citing an extreme lack of space for an additional school to enter the building, not one speaker throughout the evening voiced support in favor of the charter school joining PS/IS 308.
辰ldquo;Charter schools do have their place, but they don辰rsquo;t have their place in this building,辰rdquo; said Mary Jackson, a parent of a PS/IS 308 student. 辰ldquo;As far as I辰rsquo;m concerned, because this is a kindergarten through eighth grade location, I辰rsquo;ve always considered this building to already have two schools.辰rdquo;
According to the NYC Department of Education (DOE), PS/IS 308 has been identified as an underutilized building, which means that there are more than 300 seats available.辰nbsp;
Their revised educational plans, which were submitted in advance of the meeting, call for an additional 57 students in kindergarten and first grades for the upcoming school year, and an additional 171 students in grades one and two for the 2012 school year.
Approximately 57 students would be added each year until the 2015-2016 school year, when the phase-in is scheduled to end. Projected enrollment in kindergarten through fifth grade will top out at 396 students four years from now, for a total of 925 students in the building.
However, Ronnie Mailman, representative for United Federation of Teachers (UFT) in District 16, said he was not impressed with the DOE辰rsquo;s revised educational plans.
辰ldquo;They want to have this hearing and alter their plans because they辰rsquo;re scared and want to avoid a lawsuit,辰rdquo; said Mailman. "They will not listen to you. They do not care what parents and teachers think.辰rdquo;
Mailman said that several community leaders, including Assemblyman Albert Vann and Brooklyn Senator Velmanette Montgomery, have personally toured the buildings and agreed that there is not enough space to house an additional school.
Ms. Donaldson, a lifelong Bed-Stuy resident, said she recalled a time when the school was at the DOE辰rsquo;s recommended capacity limits.
辰ldquo;When the school was at its full capacity when the school first opened, there were trailers outside because the school could not accommodate them,辰rdquo; said Donaldson. 辰ldquo;Do we want that for our children now?辰rdquo;
The rally comes on the heels of Monday辰rsquo;s announcement from the NYC Parents Union that they will be filing a lawsuit against the DOE, claiming the DOE's policy of closing low-performing and co-locating charter schools in district space is illegal.辰nbsp;The lawsuit would effectively stop any of the co-locations and school closings from moving forward.