PS 9 needs your help ASAP
  • PS 9's rise-and-rise is a serious force driving the increasing desirability of living in Prospect Heights. They need the community's assistance ASAP. My kids don't go there (yet) but I'm supporting them now because they're such an asset. See below for details.



    Dear neighbors:

    PS 9 is a valuable asset to the Prospect Heights neighborhood, and has just had

    some unexpected news regarding funding that will require immediate, drastic cuts

    unless the neighborhood rallies. Here's URL for the article that was just

    published on the PS 9 website. (Text pasted below) Please pass it around to

    anyone who might be able to help.

    http://www.ps9brooklyn.org/news/2012/06/ps-9-emergency-fundraising-appeal/

    PS 9 Emergency Fundraising Appeal:

    PS 9 has lost $360K in funding

    On Monday, June 19, PS 9 was informed that the school no longer qualifies as a

    high-poverty, Title I school. Instead of 60 percent low-income, we're now at

    59.1 percent (a difference of roughly 5 students not qualifying for free lunch).

    With that news, the school has just lost approximately $360,000 in federal

    funding for the next academic year (2012-2013). Our population is still majority

    low-income, to be sure—we simply do not meet the percentage requirement to

    qualify for the Title I funds.

    Because of this change, another funding program—Fair Student Funding—has kicked

    in to make up $200,000 of this shortfall, but the school is still left with an

    approximate $160,000 deficit.

    Teachers will lose their jobs next week unless we can offset the loss

    According to Principal Sandra D'Avilar, the loss of the Title I funding means 4

    full-time teachers must be laid off, unless the PTO can quickly come up with the

    money to cover the $160,000 shortfall. Principal D'Avilar will need to start

    letting teachers know their jobs have been terminated starting this Monday, June

    25. The PTO is asking PS 9 families as well as local homeowners and business

    owners to donate as much as they are able, before June 25. (If money comes in

    after June 25, the teachers may be able to be re-hired.)

    How you can make a difference today

    Donate! $5, $50, $500, $5000. Whatever you can afford. Donations are fully tax

    deductible (The PTO is a 501(c)3 charity) and qualify for corporate matching

    funds. For info on how to donate online via credit card, go to

    http://www.ps9brooklyn.org/donate/

    Checks can be made out to "PS9 PTO" and dropped in the PTO drop box in the main

    office or mailed to

    PS 9 PTO, 80 Underhill Ave, Room 132A, Brooklyn, NY 11238.

    Where the money will go

    Under Department of Education regulations, the PTO cannot pay classroom

    teachers' salaries, but it CAN pay for many other things, such as cluster

    teachers, professional development programs, arts consultants and intervention

    teachers, as well as school equipment and supplies. Current donations will go

    toward all those expenses, so that Principal D'Avilar can free up the funds

    necessary to retain our full teaching staff.

    Budget cuts in the past few years have taken $500 per student from PS 9, and

    this loss of funding will take another $250 per student. That's $750 less per

    student. The PS 9 and Prospect Heights communities must band together to make up

    this dramatic shortfall and ensure that PS 9 continues to flourish and grow.

    Let's make sure PS 9 stays the neighborhood jewel that it is.

    PS 9 is an incredible school, with a dynamic principal, a progressive

    educational approach, a focus on meeting individual needs and learning styles, a

    commitment to arts enrichment, ongoing professional development for teachers, a

    state of the art new library, a new playground, an outdoor classroom and garden,

    a trout-release project and much, much more. Because of its educational

    excellence and its extremely diverse, friendly community feel, it has become a

    magnet, drawing new families to the Prospect Heights neighborhood. All this,

    with about $450,000 less in fundraising than PS 321 in Park Slope. Let's keep PS

    9 going strong and give it what it needs to grow. A great public school benefits

    all of us–students, parents, Prospect Heights residents and business owners.

    The PS 9 PTO is a 501(c)3 charity. In addition to solving this immediate

    challenge, tax-deductible donations can pay for books, supplies, additional

    teacher's aides, upgrading technology, reinstating valuable programs lost to

    budget cuts, soundproofing the cafeteria and the gym, and more. Please consider

    making as large an immediate donation as you can, as well as setting up an

    ongoing monthly donation to keep our school great—and growing.

    http://www.ps9brooklyn.org/donate/


  • Thanks for posting this. I just did my part. My kids don't go there yet either, but will soon! I am hoping that even people without kids, or with kids at other schools, will donate, since good public schools are good for everyone.


  • thelambchop said:

    I am hoping that even parents without kids, or even kids at other schools, will donate, since good public schools are good for everyone.


    How can you be a parent without kids? :-)


  • donated.


  • photo: Daily News

    As Dr J quotes above, the school was in danger of losing federal funds:

    On Monday, June 19, PS 9 was informed that the school no longer qualifies as a high-poverty, Title I school. Instead of 60 percent low-income, we're now at 59.1 percent (a difference of roughly 5 students not qualifying for free lunch).

    With that news, the school has just lost approximately $360,000 in federal funding for the next academic year (2012-2013). Our population is still majority low-income, to be sure—we simply do not meet the percentage requirement to qualify for the Title I funds.

    An article in today's Daily News repeats the appeal:

    http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/brooklyn/prospect-heights-public-school-loses-federal-funding-enrollment-drop-poor-students-article-1.1151843

    Gentrification sucks?


  • I'm confused. Wouldn't it just be easier to go recruit 5 more low income students/families to come into a good, safe, up-and-coming school?


  • That might be a good strategy going forward, but I am under the impression that the feds looked at the prior year (2011 - 2012) in order to cut funding for the upcoming year (2012 - 2013).

    Our strategy might be a hard sell to a low income family: If I was low income and committed to my child's education to the degree that I was going to enroll them and transport them everyday to a far away "nice, wealthy, healthy" school, I could probably shoot really high ...higher than PS 9.

    In related news:

    -Given how far Atlantic Yard's definition of "affordable housing" is from how families who qualify for Title I define such things, having more low income folks live locally seems unlikely in the immediate future.

    -This brownstone just sold for $2.3M: http://www.corcoran.com/property/listing.aspx?Region=NYC&listingid=851051


  • zoned schools don't have staff for recruiting and even if they did could not legally target low-income kids for recruitment purposes. also, it's the city that sets the percentage cutoffs to receive title I funds, and they do it by borough. schools in staten island get these funds if they have anything over 45% low-income - the cutoff is much higher in brooklyn because brooklyn is poorer overall. how's that for sensible?

    beyond that, i think some of you may have some outdated impressions about ps9 and the realities of the nyc school system. ps9 is a zoned school; no, it's not a rich school because it reflects the diversity of the zone, the DOE's priorities, and the lag-time between neighborhood gentrification and integration of zoned schools, especially when there continue to be "pre-gentrified" alternatives that some families can or will opt for. still, ps9 has become very popular in the neighborhood, and with a terrific principal and very active PTA will only become more so.

    so, whynot, to your point about the attractiveness of ps9 to a low-income family, perhaps the school is not "wealthy," (relative to schools like ps 321, which uniformly have no space for kids who are out of zone, regardless of income) but "nice and healthy" it is for sure.


  • From what I know of PS 9 from my friends who have children, I would not hesitate to send my children there.

    I suspect a child of mine would prefer it to PS 321.


  • mine too! (which is why we'll be there when the time comes.) and to be clear, i mean no disrespect to ps 321, which from everything i hear must be doing a fabulous job.


  • thelambchop said:

    mine too! (which is why we'll be there when the time comes.) and to be clear, i mean no disrespect to ps 321, which from everything i hear must be doing a fabulous job.



    My 16 year old son went there from pre k to 5th grade. While it has greatly improved there have always been wonderful, caring teachers there who now, under the fabulous principal Ms. D'Avilar and VP Ms. Smith, have truly shined. I love they way they make you feel included in your child's education as well as the school itself. While I would financially support the PTA, I find them to be very cliquish and I don't have the highest tolerance for b.s., my voice or opinion was never lost. I hope your child does go to PS 9 - I think they as well as you will be very happy.


  • My daughter just started PS9 yesterday- we're very happy to be there for many reasons. My understanding is that schools have no say in who they accept- students in Pre-K were accepted by random lottery. In other years, the individual schools used to have some input, but no more. So I doubt PS9 could let in a few low-income students to get the funding back.


  • Lottery's are only used when there are more students than seats. If they have a grade where there is space available, as a zone school I thought they had to take a kid so long as they live in the zone. As for finding low income kids, if they advertised in parts of the zone that have lower-income residents, the odds are they'll get lower income kids. Its the same method that charters use. Hang flyers in the lobby of community centers, in apartment buildings, etc and say "we have space for this number of kids in these grades" and they might just show up.


  • stacey, thanks, good to know. it seems like there is bound to be some kind of politics wherever lots of parents are involved, so i'm prepared!

    homeowner - it was my impression that enrollment is rising but that the neighborhood is changing. i haven't seen any suggestion that the school is "losing" zoned low-income kids or that there are significant pockets of low-income families that aren't attending ps9 who would attend based on a flyer...that's the kind of thing a marketing budget might show you, but my impression is that the DOE does not give out that kind of demographic information. it's an interesting idea, though...anyone from the PS9 PTA out there...??

    as a PSA - here's how PS9 enrollment seems to be working this year (DOE seems to change rules constantly, so it seems wise to check with the school):

    pre-k is done initially on a centralized DOE computer system, first priority for admission goes to zoned siblings and then zoned non-siblings, then non-zoned sibs in district, etc. school is not initially involved. there are 50-ish pre-k seats at ps9, lots go to siblings. then the school keeps its own wait list and offers seats from that list sometime in summer.

    k-5: admissions to general ed classes are based on residential zone pretty much how homeowner says. in addition to gen ed, there is a dual language class starting in kindergarten; admissions to that are handled by the school - half spanish-speakers and half non-spanish speakers, testing for spanish speakers and then lottery if there are more applicants than seats. i think non-spanish-speaking kids can only get in at kindergarten, but i'm not sure how it works.

    there is also one so-called "talented and gifted" class in each grade starting with K and the DOE handles the test (sign up in october, test in january) and the admissions, which are not based on zone but based on district and test score. once a kid tests into g&t, they can stay in that class until they leave ps9. spots sometimes open up when people relocate, and admissions for open seats are again done by DOE based on district (not zone) and test score...

    the DOE certainly does not like to make this easy for parents!


  • thelambchop has done the homework, it is pretty close to what the process is. Both my kids attend PS9, I have been on the PTA, and it is a wonderful school to support. It is more than just a school, it is a community and family. Currently there are still out of zone kids accepted to the school while space is there. It will become tighter with time as the school is growing every year. The budget cuts are drastic, but what is amazing about the school is they do the best they can with what they have, and thanks to many parents and guardians volunteering, it alleviates a lot of the stress on the staff. The neighborhood has been more than generous with donations, and the school is so grateful for all that you do.

    A really great way to give to the school is to help with the teacher's wish lists on Donors Choose. Check back often as requests are posted all through the year. They are taxt deductible.

    http://www.donorschoose.org/donors/search.html?state=NY&community=884:1&school=518


  • I posted earlier about the PS9 Carnival, and we hope to see you all there! In addition to the facebook site, PS9 has a pretty awesome website: ps9brooklyn.org; it's being updated regularly to catch up with the beginning of the school year, but it is a great resource for learning more about the school, including this year's schedule of open houses.

    If you are interested in learning more about families' experiences at PS9, you are also welcome to send a note to AskAPS9Parent@gmail.com. The PTO will connect you up with a veteran PS9 parent who can help you answer your questions about the school!


  • Last night, the Brooklyn Reform coalition held a mayoral forum. Our local club, Prospect Heights Democrats for Reform asked about the loss of Title I funding for PS9. Here are what the candidates said about our local school:

    http://youtu.be/1sg-ISgTeS8

    Some interesting answers- having a new mayor will definitely change our situation, hopefully for the better.


  • Thanks raulism for posting the video!


  • Support our local public school P.S. 9

    PS 9 is gearing up for another great year in September, but the school is still facing the $160,000 yearly funding loss due to our changing demographics and resulting loss of federal Title I funding. The PS 9 PTO must now raise $160K every year. And in order to secure staff and programs for 2013-2014 school year, we need

    to raise a good chunk of the funding NOW.

    In a 2004 study, Prospect Heights residents listed improving schools as their #1 concern. PS 9 has improved—the DOE now ranks it in the top 30%. It has a fantastic principal. A progressive, inquiry-based curriculum. A G&T approach to education that’s implemented school-wide. A commitment to the arts. A Spanish dual-language program.

    And a state-of-the-art library and a beautiful new playground—crucial capital improvements that benefit both PS 9 students and the

    neighborhood.

    But to keep growing, PS 9 needs you. Goals include better staffing levels, deeper programs for the neediest students, and more extensive enrichment offerings. To reach its potential, PS 9 needs an infusion of money—NOW.

    Please make a one-time donation now, sign up online or set up your bank account to make automatic monthly donations of $5 or more. It’s easier on your cash flow, it adds up, and it’s tax-deductible.

    •The PS 9 PTO is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.

    •Donations are fully tax deductible and eligible for corporate matching funds.

    •Donate online via credit card or sign up for monthly donations: www.ps9brooklyn.org/donate •Checks made out to “PS 9 PTO” can sent to 80 Underhill Ave., Room 132-A, Brooklyn, NY 11238. You can also set up automatic monthly donations using your bank's online banking services—that way we avoid service fees!


  • This is one of the many things wrong with the NYC BOE. Every other school district in the state funds its budget through state/federal aid and property taxes. The public votes on a budget about which they've had the opportunity to pose questions and make suggestions. Don't like the budget? Vote "no."

    Here, schools are underfunded, but our property taxes remain blissfully low. There is NO budget transparency, which is why principals can send parents into a fundraising panic, threatening to cut staff and services that are state mandated.


  • Heightsmom said:

    There is NO budget transparency, which is why principals can send parents into a fundraising panic, threatening to cut staff and services that are state mandated.


    I agree that there should be more budget transparency at the state and city levels, but I'm not sure what you're implying with respect to NYC principals. you seem to be suggesting that it's common for them to purposely make empty threats to cut things they can't cut, and that the fundraising isn't therefore necessary. this seems pretty far-fetched - parents don't control the budgets but at public schools they can see them (through the School Leadership Team process) and understand what is a real potential threat. And at least with respect to PS 9, it seems like a pretty concrete issue when your student population is essentially the same but your funding is $200K less.


  • The reason NYC doesn't work the same way is that the entire city is one school district for state funding purposes.


  • [The reason NYC doesn't work the same way is that the entire city is one school district for state funding purposes.]

    That does not prohibit a budget on which residents vote, our property tax structure does.


  • Well would you want the passage of the budget for your local school to be determined by a group of people living in the Bronx or Staten Island?

    Its easy to say we should change the tax structure so that we can all vote on school budgets, but when we are one district that means the majority of people in the city have to vote to approve. The process would be impossible.


  • Yes. It's about time our local school budgets reflected an honest allocation of available funds. Right now, schools with wealthy parents want for nothing, while those in poorer neighborhoods have a compromised education. As you say, we are one district. Shouldn't all students receive the same quality of education?


  • Yes. It's about time our local school budgets reflected an honest allocation of available funds. Right now, schools with wealthy parents want for nothing, while those in poorer neighborhoods have a compromised education. As you say, we are one district. Shouldn't all students receive the same quality of education?


  • Heightsmom said:

    Yes. It's about time our local school budgets reflected an honest allocation of available funds. Right now, schools with wealthy parents want for nothing, while those in poorer neighborhoods have a compromised education. As you say, we are one district. Shouldn't all students receive the same quality of education?


    Waaay to generalized view of the school situation. There are a lot of "Wealthy" parents in my sons school that are helping with their money AND time to make the school better for everybody. They show up for PTA meetings. The city is doing it's best to kill our public schools and it's NOT going to change.


  • Heightsmom said:

    Yes. It's about time our local school budgets reflected an honest allocation of available funds. Right now, schools with wealthy parents want for nothing, while those in poorer neighborhoods have a compromised education. As you say, we are one district. Shouldn't all students receive the same quality of education?


    Waaay to generalized view of the school situation. There are a lot of "Wealthy" parents in my sons school that are helping with their money AND time to make the school better for everybody. They show up for PTA meetings. The city is doing it's best to kill our public schools and it's NOT going to change.


  • i agree with GOD (good place to be, i guess) and heightsmom both - yes, all should receive the same quality of education but it's not a simple duality of "wealthy" parents vs. poor neighborhoods, and gentrifying zoned schools are the perfect example of how it's more complex. And this complexity is actually what PS 9's Title I funding loss is all about, and why it's so important to help!

    The neighborhood is more affluent now, but the school is still 59% low-income, with the lower-income population more heavily represented in the upper grades, and the more affluent parents are disproportionately those with younger kids - less established or otherwise not the "uberwealthy" parents that exist in schools in more homogenous and historically rich neighborhoods. We are resourceful, however, and we are looking for as much help as we can find!

    To build on what GOD said, the city would really like to get rid of zoned schools all together, and replace them with smaller, socio-economically segregated charter schools that have no connection to and no obligation to serve the community they're placed in. PS 9 is a terrific, growing school, committed to maintaining its diversity despite pressures but the DOE will continue to pressure us in various ways! So if you'd like PS 9 to remain a community asset, and a great school for your kids or your neighbor's kids, please consider donating.

    PS 9 Donations HERE!

    Thank you!


  • Thanks for posting the link, whynot! it's very easy, the school gets $1 for every person who votes.


  • This year's annual fund raising efforts by PS 9:

    Support PS 9 Classrooms through DonorsChoose
    The creative and dedicated teachers at our local Prospect Heights elementary school, PS 9, have been hard at work preparing a terrific year for their incoming students. DonorsChoose.com makes it easy to help! Check out PS 9 teachers' projects at http://bit.ly/ps9donorschoose. Use the code INSPIRE at checkout and your donation may be matched for certain projects. Your support is tax deductible and goes DIRECTLY to the classrooms of children in our neighborhood. A great local public school is good for everyone!




    PS 9's Annual Bounce Back to School Carnival
    When: Saturday, September 20, 11:00AM – 5:00PM
    Where: PS 9 playground, 80 Underhill Avenue
    This year’s carnival will feature 5 Bouncy Houses (including 1 for toddlers), face painting, carnival games, raffle, and a huge outdoor dance party! There will be BBQ, drinks, popcorn and other snacks for all to enjoy. (Rain date September 21.) Check PS 9's Bounce Back to School Carnival web page for information on pricing, payment and more!

  • Thanks for posting, whynot! As luck would have it there is a matching period right now for a bunch of the DonorsChoose projects, so if folks want to donate, now is a great time! Support the kids (and teacher autonomy ;))! http://bit.ly/ps9donorschoose

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