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Sunday, June 30, 2013

Elected Officials Come Our Against the ECF Proposal for CTE

The following elected officials wrote a letter to Chancellor Walcott and the heads of the ECF and SCA questioning the plans for the High School of Cooperative Technology:

Scott M. Stringer, Manhattan Borough President
Charles B. Rangel, Member of Congress, 13th District
Jose M. Serrano,  Senator, 29th District
Robert J. Rodriguez, Assemblymember, 68th District
Melissa Mark-Viverito, Council Member, District 8

The letter begins:

Dear Chancellor Walcott, Ms. Maldonado and Ms. Grillo:

We write to express our deep concern about a proposal currently under review by the Department
of Education (DOE), the Educational Construction Fund (ECF) and the School Construction
Authority (SCA), to redevelop the parcel of city-owned land occupied by the School of
Cooperative Technical Education (SCTE) at 321 East 96th Street. We urge you to immediately
halt this proposal, until such time as the DOE can constructively engage in a comprehensive
conversation with the local impacted community about impending redevelopment plans.

As you know, the School of Cooperative Technical Education is a District 79 school that has
spent more than a decade addressing the academic needs of over-age, under-credited youth from
across the five boroughs. The DOE and ECF’s redevelopment plans for the SCTE site, which
include demolition of the building, will very likely cause serious disruption in the academic lives
of some 2,000 students from across the five boroughs, including those with autism and other
special needs. Relocating SCTE’s students puts these youth at significant risk of discontinuing
and/or dropping out of school – a near-guarantee for poor long-term outcomes. How the DOE
intends to address these concerns is a matter of utmost importance.

The reality is that —whatever the pros and cons of this project may be – no one has been
provided the information necessary to make an informed judgment about the project, because the
DOE and ECF’s process of engaging the local community has been thoroughly inadequate and
lacking in transparency. As a result, students, families and teachers have been left largely in the
dark about the potential impact of any redevelopment proposal on their school and community.

Read the full letter here.

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