Schools Should Serve Student Needs
We are dismayed by the political decision to postpone until 2009 the funding for Public School 114 in Belle Harbor to be reconfigured to make the building accessible by handicapped students. We say that it was a political decision rather than an educational or a fiscal decision because Mayor Bloomberg is holding nearly 100 new schools and school construction projects hostage until the Republican State Senate majority, led by Joe Bruno, comes up with the money ceded to the city by the Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE) suit. Although the state court ruled more than a year ago that the state must provide the extra money to the city, the Republican majority has so far refused to comply with the court order because it would mean cutting funds to the suburban school systems they represent on Long Island and Upstate New York. Many of the delayed school projects are in the districts of those city Republicans who have not been helpful to the city in obtaining the money. That is not the case with PS 114, because all of the Democratic state legislators that represent Rockaway have been fighting for the city's case, but the school got caught up in the cuts nevertheless. We believe in neighborhood schools and that the children who live within the PS 114 zone, whether handicapped or not, have the right to a seat in that school, arguably one of the best in the city. City Councilman Joseph Addabbo has penned a letter to the Mayor, asking him to insure that the project gets funded this year. We hope that our state legislators join in that appeal.