Wed, Apr 21, 2010
CFE's Public Comment On the Proposed Expansion of PAVE Charter School Co-located Within PS 15
CFE's Independent Analysis of the Utilization of PS15's School Building as it Relates to PAVE Charter School's Expansion
Click here for the complete detailed PDF version of this report.
PS15â€™s Parent Community called for an independent analysis of the utilization of PS15's school building as it related to the expansion of the PAVE Charter School. CFE was subsequently contacted because of our extensive work on school facilities and participation in Building Educational Success Together (BEST), a national coalition of partners who are involved with joint development and joint use issues through research, policy, and analysis. CFE asked Mary Filardo, the Executive Director of the 21st Century School Fund and Coordinator of BEST to provide us with an independent analysis.
Mary Fillardo Responds:
In response to your request to review the utilization of PS15 as it related to the expansion of the public charter school co-located within the PS 15 building, I am providing you some observations from our visit to the school last week and my review of various school district documents that you were able to provide me. In order to try to understand the space adjacencies and relative sizes, I also got some help from a project management firm here in the DC area to recreate the floor plan, as I did not have one. I have also included an excel spreadsheet of the measurements on the 2009-2010 turnaround survey and some charts that helped me better understand how space is distributed in the school. Hopefully these may be of help to others as well.
I hope our experience with school planning as it relates to co-location of schools, including of traditional with public charter schools here in Washington, DC, as well as our experience nationally with other BEST partners who are involved with joint development and joint use issues through research, policy analysis and with individual projects, will provide some help in finding solutions for the issues in contention at PS15.
From my review of documents and a visit to PS15, the school seems a poster child for a school that is effectively applying what is known about what works when educating children, particularly for schools with a large population of children from low income families:
PS 15 was built in the 1960s and is 80,000 gross square feet. It shares its building with community based organizations and supports school based delivery of social services, and includes a public charter school co-located within the school. These types and the extent of co location and shared use at PS15 put it on the forefront of new practice in public education as it relates to public building use policy. The question posed to me was: â€śWhat do you see when looking at the space and programs at PS15? Is there still excess space that is under utilized at PS 15 that can be disposed of without compromising the quality of the learning experience for students at PS 15?â€ť
First, I will describe my perspective as it relates to the expansion of public charter schools. The 21st Century School Fund, while primarily focused on the quality of public school facilities in urban districts in the traditional public schools, has also been involved in the development of public charter school facilities and in particular, a development in Washington, DC that included a traditional elementary school, a public charter high school and the city Department of Recreation. It is our position that ALL children should be in high quality facilitiesâ€”those from traditional public schools and those at public charter schools. We will be presenting a seminar on public charter school facility planning at the National Charter Alliance Conference in July, in Chicago, supported by the U.S. Department of Education.
With this background, I offer my observations:
While I did not have much time to speak with the public charter school and arrived unannounced, the Dean of Students was gracious enough to walk me through their areas. These observations are limited, but may be useful.
My overall impression is that even following the most optimal collaborative planning process and support from DOE, that it will not be possible for PS 15 to support the continued expansion of PAVE per the DOE proposal. I think it may be possible to free up space equivalent to 1 classroom and one half classroom without having a negative effect on PS 15. However, since these spaces are on the first floor and currently used by PS 15 and their community partners, even this requires some space reorganization, relocation, and design modification of existing spaces to limit the negative impact of losing these additional spaces. The DOE needs to provide PS15 with a architectural space planner to work with the PS15 school and community, including PAVE, to develop educational specifications related to their program and the community based programs and servicesâ€”including after-school.
Click Here for the complete and detailed PDF version of this report.
Parents from across the state march on the Capitol in Albany to show support for CFE.
CFE v. State of New York
In 2006, after 13 years in the Courts, the New York State Court of Appeals affirmed the right of every public school student in New York to the opportunity for a sound basic education and the stateâ€™s responsibility to adequately fund this right, but deferred to the Governor and the Legislature to determine the appropriate amount. more >