Ella Leitner 0

The Neighborhood School (PS363) and The Star Academy (PS63) Construction Petition to SCA

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To whom it may concern:

Since September of 2013, students at The Neighborhood School (PS363) and The Star Academy (PS63) have been obligated to attend school inside an on-going construction site. Parents and administration understand the need for the work being done and can also understand that reasonable delays may occur with the discovery of unexpected structural issues as work proceeds.

The original projected end date was October 2015. However, the completion date has now been postponed for a second time, and there is no confidence or evidence that the new deadline of July 2016 will be met.

As a result, our children are exposed to health hazards daily which are detailed below and supported with photographic (to be made available upon request). We, the undersigned, assert that this is unacceptable. We believe this would not be allowed to happen in a New York City independent school. The financial threat of being sued or fired would be too great.

These are our grievances:

1. Homeless people regularly camp out under the scaffolding that surrounds the school on all sides and leave hypodermic needles, vomit and feces.

The paraphernalia and waste, when noticed in time, are cleaned each morning by the parks department or our custodial staff at the daily behest of our schools’ administrations. This not only puts a burden on the administration, school custodians and parks department, but invites the very real possibility that human waste and drug paraphernalia may go unnoticed and found by a child during the school day.

Our local precinct #9 asserts that this situation will not change until the scaffolding comes down. We believe that this creates a health and safety hazard for our children.

2. There has rarely, if ever, been a day during this school year when parents or Staff can report having seen the 19-25 workers that the SCA (School Construction Authority) claims should be on the job daily during designated work hours: 3:30-11:30 PM weekdays and all days during the summer vacation.

3. The SCA speculated to the TNS PTA on March 17th, 2016, that our construction has been so delayed because Kafka Construction (the hired third-party construction company) overbid for jobs over a period of a few years starting in 2011. They speculate that the company cannot keep up with completing their commitments in a timely manner. We assert that an elementary school is the last place that should suffer delays and increases in threats to health and safety because of the company’s over-commitments.

4. The flower boxes in front of the school which once housed beautiful plants are now rat- infested, as is the area behind the school where construction equipment is stored.

What we want:

1. An adequate number of workers immediately assigned to the job in order to meet the latest completion date of July, 2016 (or earlier).

2. The “drastic intervention” the SCA told us would be taken against Kafka Construction should they not meet the next deadline to be put into motion immediately as an incentive to finish by the promised date.

3. The SCA to replace any part of the school’s property that has been negatively impacted by the construction (including but not limited to the flower boxes in the Courtyards).

4. The entire basketball side of the yard to be resurfaced by the time the next school year begins in September, 2016. Only resurfacing half of the yard, as the SCA has suggested, will create an uneven playing surface for children who will then be exposed to an additional safety hazard due to the construction.

5. All classrooms damaged as a result of construction to be re-plastered and repainted by August 2016.

6. A parent representative must be present during all walk-throughs with SCA and Kafka from this moment forward.

~Signed by the following parents The Neighborhood School (M363) and The Star Academy (PS63)

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