Charter middle school bad idea


To the editor:

(re: “Proposed charter middle school raises tension,” April 20)

Recently, Ms. Elaine Ruiz-Lopez, administrator of the International Leadership Charter High School, accused local politicians of being guilty of an abuse of power regarding the proposed and ill-conceived charter middle school.

This statement is incredulous and untrue.

The grassroots group of Kingsbridge residents representing several buildings has formed to oppose the construction of the charter school. It has been cultivating relationships with local politicians and Community Board 8 to support, unify and strengthen our position against the school.

We’ve encouraged political leaders to stand with us and speak out.

We commend those who organized the April 15 rally and spoke about the negative impact the school will have in the community. It is neither unethical nor appalling (as Ms. Ruiz Lopez claimed) for a community to work with elected officials. Just look at the diversity of those who attended the rally.

Claims that the motivations of local leaders to support some groups while ignoring others reveal the misinformed and racially motivated statements by the author. 

Public schools have served immigrant groups for more than 100 years. One only has to look at the diversity of public school principals in District 10 to acknowledge the employment and promotion of educational leaders across all immigrant groups. To suggest that local politicians represent the needs of only certain groups is unprofessional and untrue.

Ms. Ruiz-Lopez failed to mention in her letter that there already are 14 schools serving all age groups in a four-block radius of the construction, and that District 10 currently has 34 schools.

We believe the community has supported more than enough school construction in support of education. These schools collectively serve the needs of children of all colors and cultures.

As far as her concern for the development and education of future leaders, we need not depend on charter schools to provide the tools needed for success. Local neighborhood schools already address that goal.

A recent story in The Riverdale Press about the middle school construction on West 232nd Street failed to fully explain certain key points. It did not address the dangers the builder has ignored: broken concrete on the street, failure to post certain work permits and certificates, work being done after designated hours, extreme damage to the parking lot caused by drilling on the site, damage to the retaining wall. The failure to recognize that the school’s foundation is affected by Tibbetts Brook, the water that flows underground, seeped into the worksite, and is known to arbitrarily create flooding in the area.

Repairs and compliance need to be achieved before building can continue.

The fact is the 50-by-100 lot is not meant to hold a seven-story building. It is too big and poorly designed. Classrooms will be too small and overcrowded. Due to few windows, it will be poorly ventilated.

Traffic problems already exist. The number of children, cars, city buses, school buses and vans is already impacting streets and crosswalks. Children dart between cars and cross streets against traffic. It is a recipe for disaster.

It is unfortunate that Ms. Ruiz-Lopez has chosen use the race card when responding to the legitimate needs of the neighborhood and the outreach of local leaders. There are enough reasons to cite when addressing the inappropriate geographic placement of the school without resorting to unprofessional and ugly words.

Barbara Fasciani

Barbara Fasciani, Elaine Ruiz-Lopez, International Leadership Charter High School, politicians,