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Friday, June 14, 2013

Victory Message From Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal

Victory: Upper West Side Successfully Fights off DOE Redevelopment of Our Public Schools

In a victory for Upper West Side schools, the New York City Department of Education (DOE) bowed to community pressure and has announced that it will not move forward with plans for redevelopment at Manhattan P.S. 191 and Manhattan P.S. 199. I am gratified that DOE came to realize that trying to force a project of this magnitude without any public process on the Upper West Side will always be met with a wall of united opposition.

The DOE first proposed to demolish these schools and the School of Cooperative Technical Education on the Upper East Side with an advertisement to developers in a November 2012 issue of Crain's. The DOE would have leased the land to a private developer who would demolish the schools and build luxury housing with a school at the base. Make no mistake about it: this plan was never about education or providing seats for our children--it was conceived as a giveaway to developers. The DOE did not notify anyone in the targeted communities of its intentions and, even after a community outcry, gave just one presentation in February which provided little useful information.

On the Upper West Side, we refuse to stand for the City playing games with our public schools, and I wrote to the DOE to express my disgust with its refusal to engage the community and let parents have a say in its decision on whether to redevelop any of the schools. I also sent DOE a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request for answers to many of the questions it left unanswered  and worked with the affected communities of both schools to organize informational meetings and rallies. The marvelous collaboration with community leaders and  area elected officials culminated last night in a rally and forum attended by hundreds of parents, teachers, children and community members who made their voices heard and said no to redevelopment.

This victory, coming on the heel's of last night's public meeting, would never have been possible without the thousands of Upper West Siders who signed petitions, wrote letters, demonstrated and organized. I especially want to thank the following groups and fellow elected officials for their efforts and advocacy:

Coalition to Save Our Schools
Museum Magnet School / Manhattan P.S. 191 Redevelopment Committee
United Federation of Teachers
Lincoln Square Community Coalition
Amsterdam Houses Residents Association
Coalition for a Livable West Side
New York Communities for Change
Congressman Jerrold Nadler
Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer
State Senator Brad M. Hoylman
State Senator José M. Serrano
State Senator Adriano Espaillat
City Councilmember Gale A. Brewer

However, DOE will unfortunately continue pursuing its secretive redevelopment process at the School of Cooperative Technical Education at 321 East 96th Street. I was told that DOE will release a Request for Proposals, but it does not have a firm timeline for doing so. Targeting the school whose students are most geographically dispersed and less organized does not make DOE's agenda any more palatable. If the East Side community opposes this development, I am sure we will work together to save their school.

I want to again congratulate the Upper West Side on showing the City that we have had enough of backroom deals and secret plans. The students of P.S. 191 and P.S. 199 can go on summer vacation knowing that they will have a school to return to in the fall!

Linda B. Rosenthal
Member of Assembly - 67 AD


  1. Who will save Coop-tech?

  2. Stay tuned. We are going to regroup and move forward and helping CTE is a top priority.

  3. Now we need to work on landmarking PS 199 by Edward Durrell Stone!