Brooklyn public schools are thousands of dollars richer.
That’s because local City Council members allocated funding for school-specific projects, such as computer initiatives, new playgrounds and auditorium upgrades.
Council members say they provide the money every year to individual schools because funding from the city Department of Education (DOE) only goes so far.
“Obviously we’re trying to push the DOE to do the maximum for our district and meet needs that are being ignored. Sometimes that works and then we don’t have to do it with Council money. Other times if the DOE is not acting or is acting too slowly, we use Council money to move things along or fill a need,” explained Councilmember Bill de Blasio (D–Park Slope).
“It was really important that I provide taxpayer dollars to schools in my district so that they could have the same services as any school in New York City,” said Councilmember Letitia James (D–Fort Greene).
James secured funding for four schools in her district, including $250,000 for Brooklyn Technical High School in Fort Greene (29 Fort Greene Place), a technology upgrade for Freedom Academy High School at 116 Nassau Street, and a playground for P.S. 67 and Community Roots Charter School, which share space at 51 St. Edwards Street.
Councilmember Sara Gonzalez (D–Sunset Park) secured funding for three schools in Sunset Park, as well as I.S. 88 at 544 Seventh Avenue for a mobile lab initiative.
Councilmember David Yassky (D–Brooklyn Heights) obtained funding to provide several local schools with new computers and playground upgrades. On the list for computers are M.S. 51 at 350 Fifth Avenue and J.H.S. 126 at 424 Leonard Street.
“Things like computer labs and enrichment programs aren’t extras – they are crucially important parts of our schools that the Department of Education should be funding,” Yassky said. “Education is the most important investment we can make. Whenever possible, I have tried to make funding available through my office to make sure Brooklyn schoolchildren get the great education they deserve.”
In de Blasio’s district, there’s funding for infrastructure improvements, including a bathroom renovation for P.S. 39 at 417 Sixth Avenue and construction of a wall to separate the cafeteria and administrative offices at P.S. 372 at 512 Carroll Street.
Councilman de Blasio also secured funding for a science lab for P.S. 58 at 330 Smith Street, as well as $840,000 to provide new computers to several elementary and middle schools in his district.
“This kind of investment really makes a difference,” de Blasio said. “Parents really appreciate it and this is where they want their tax dollars going.”
“For decades there wasn’t enough investment in our schools,” he continued. “Even though there’s been some improvement in recent years, we’re just scratching the surface in providing what our kids really need.”
For a full list of public schools receiving money from local City Council members, log onto http://www.council.nyc.gov/html/budget/PDFs/adopt08_capresowork.pdf.
©2008 Community Newspaper Group
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