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Monday, July 29, 2019

Chancellor Carranza is Criticized For Deplorable Conditions at School For Special Needs Kids

Richard Carranza

 DOE pours $16M into rotting school for special needs students after Post exclusive
By Susan Edelman and Selim Algar, August 9, 2019

From Betsy Combier:
This man is a disaster for NYC, the most diverse city in the nation. We value the unique qualities of kids with special needs, ultra special needs, no needs, whatever.
NYC Department of Education Chancellor Richard Carranza seems to not value any child who may not have a voice.
This is ugly stuff. He should be fired.

Betsy Combier
Editor, NYC Rubber Room Reporter
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Editor, Inside 3020-a Teacher Trials
NY POST, July 28, 2019
Lawmakers blasted schools Chancellor Richard Carranza on Sunday for ignoring a city councilman’s complaints about the “deplorable” conditions at a Queens public school for disabled kids — as exclusively revealed by The Post.

State Sen. Joseph Addabbo Jr. (D-Queens) said his reaction to the paper’s expose “went from surprised to disappointed to depressed, because these children really need the best optimal education.”

“When something is brought to the chancellor’s attention — with the letter not being answered — for the sake of the children, you have to act on it,” Addabbo said.

City Councilman Joseph Borelli (R-Staten Island) also accused Carranza of wrongly focusing his attention on controversial diversity initiatives, including a plan to eliminate the test for admission to the city’s elite high schools.

“Perhaps this could take up more of the chancellor’s time than worrying about how many Asian kids are in Stuyvesant,” Borelli said.

The Post report quoted Councilman Robert Holden (D-Queens) as saying that Carranza never responded to a May 1, 2018, letter about the PS 9 building at 58-74 57th St. in Maspeth, where about 200 kids attend classes.

“The classrooms are falling apart, there aren’t enough bathrooms, and the cafeteria and kitchen are partitioned off in the deplorable excuse for a gymnasium,” Holden wrote.

Holden also provided video of a tattered bench used to change kids’ diapers next to open urinals in a bathroom, and of a teacher describing how so much dust from truck traffic in the industrial neighborhood seeps into classrooms that “We can taste it.”

Crumbling walls at PS 9
PS 9 is part of the citywide District 75, which the DOE says offers “highly specialized instructional support for students with significant challenges,” including autism, severe cognitive delays, emotional problems and other disabilities.

Assemblyman Felix Ortiz (D-Brooklyn), a former chair of the Committee on Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities, called for a “full investigation,” saying the school appeared to resemble something from “a Dickens novel.”

“Let’s not forget what happened decades ago at Willowbrook on Staten Island,” he said, referring to the infamous institution for mentally ill kids that sparked nationwide reforms.

“We can never treat our children like this.”

Councilman Mark Treyger (D-Brooklyn), who chairs the Education Committee, said the situation at PS 9 reinforced his calls for the hiring of a “compliance czar” to ensure that the needs of disabled kids are met.

Tricia Gaudio and her daughter Ava Marie in front of Walter Reed Public School 9.J.C. Rice
“Clearly, folks are dropping the ball,” he said.

“And so the fact that we are failing to meet the needs of children, to me speaks to a greater and deeper culture of incompetence, indifference and inertia.”

As The Post was preparing its report on Friday, City Hall reached out to Holden and said Carranza wanted to sit down with him to discuss PS 9.

Holden’s deputy chief of staff, Daniel Kurzyna, said Sunday that no meeting had yet been scheduled, but credited The Post as “the reason why we see a response from this administration.”

“We want to see these kids with special needs get a brand-new, state-of-the-art facility,” he said.

Kurzyna also said that Holden has proposed “a great location” in a former factory in nearby Glendale.

DOE spokeswoman Danielle Filson said, “We’ve invested $14 million in the historic PS 9 building so that it is a safe, clean and comfortable space for students to learn.”

“We continue to work closely with [the School Construction Authority] to make improvements, and we’re in ongoing discussions with Council Member Holden,” she added.

Additional reporting by Rich Calder

DOE pours $16M into rotting school for special needs students after Post exclusive
By Susan Edelman and Selim Algar

August 9, 2019