August 30, 2007

Gwen Goodwin
Coalition to Save P.S. 109
152 East 100th Street, Suite 5E
New York, NY 10029-6264

Dear Ms. Goodwin,

Thank you for contacting me regarding your campaign to restore P.S. 109 for use as a school and for sending me a copy of your letter to Mayor Bloomberg on this issue. Certainly, providing adequate space for the City's public school students is an issue of fundamental concern to the Council.

I would also like to commend you for your efforts to save P.S. 109 from demolition in 1999, and for your subsequent success in having the building listed by the National and New York State Registries of Historic Places. Your tireless advocacy on behalf of City schoolchildren and your hard work in collecting petition signatures, contacting elected officials and following up with City agencies is admirable.

As alluded to in your letter, the Department of Education (DOE) has rejected the idea of restoring the P.S. 109 building for use as a school since it considers Community School District 4, where P.S. 109 is located, to be underutilized and thus not in need of investment in new school seats in the foreseeable future. It also appears as though the local community board and other elected officials have indicated their support for the artist housing plan.

While I understand the DOE's position that District 4 does not currently have overcrowded schools, the concerns that you have raised about the growing needs of the East Harlem community and DOE's methods and process regarding P.S. 109 are compelling. Your suggestion that the former P.S. 109 building, which has remained vacant since 1999, be converted for use as a public high school to serve students in the local community as well as Citywide, thus helping to alleviate overcrowding at the high school level, is also worthy of consideration.

As noted in your letter, final action on the P.S. 109 site has not yet occurred. Please be assured that the Council recognizes the importance of this issue to parents and students, and will continue to monitor the situation and weigh different options. If you could kindly share this response with the other members of the coalition as well, I would greatly appreciate it.

Thank you again for contacting me regarding this very important matter. Once more, I applaud your efforts on behalf of our City's schoolchildren.

Christine C. Quinn Speaker