Coalition to Save P.S. 109
152 East 100th Street, Suite 5E
New York, NY 10029
May 15, 2007
Hon. Eliot Spitzer
State of New York
Albany, NY 12224-0341
Dear Governor Spitzer:
Please find enclosed petitions that we were able to collect during the course of our rally on March 24 to save P.S. 109 in East Harlem.
We request that your office contact the Attorney General's office, calling upon the Attorney General to order an investigation of why and how a public building can be given to private interests without any bidding process or auction. Alan Hevesi's office, through an employee Felix Rosado, facilitated this deal, with the property in question ending up in El Barrio Fightback, which is run by Felix Rosado's brother Gus Rosado.
Although you have probably been told that there are no school space or overcrowding issues, this is by far not the case. It is pure "politics".
We have privately owned buildings renting space to our schools at the expense of the taxpayers, while the Department of Education contemplates giving away P.S. 109, for a nominal "consideration" of $1.00 (one dollar), to turn our school into private housing.
Half of this housing will go at market rate, in effect subsidizing the other half to be for artists who are able to maintain an income of $50,000 per year.
Going back to 1999, we were successful in having then saved the physical building, an irreplaceable classic architectural treasure in our community, from an already ongoing illegal demolition.
Based on an independent study performed in 2001 by the East Harlem Coalition to Improve our Public Schools (EHCIPS), East Harlem schools had endemic space and overcrowding issues. With the population steadily increasing, the shortages have only gotten worse.
In Community Education District 4, we have lost art classes and music classes. Some schools, among them P.S. 72, can only provide gym classes once a week due to inadequate playground space.
Heritage High School currently rents two floors of space from the Julia de Burgos Cultural Center, which used to be a P.S. 72 now is in private hands. This type of arrangement is at the unnecessary expense of the taxpayer, not to mention the children.
The Department of Education is planning to do something similar with P.S. 109, at 215 East 99th Street. The Department of Education gave away P.S. 72 for the nominal "consideration" of one dollar ($1), and although the community uses the building wisely, one wonders if it's a good idea to continue the precedent of giving away public schools, only to have to rent the space back from the new owners.
For the Coalition to Save P.S. 109