PS 114 in Brooklyn saved from closure

March 1, 2011 2:24:48 PM PST
Parents and children arrived at P.S. 114 this morning with the satisfaction of knowing that it will not shut down, as planned by the Department of Education.

"We were rallying. We were bringing the parents out, teachers out, to keep the doors open," PTA President Crystal King said.

The DOE issued a statement by Schools Chancellor Cathie Black, acknowledging the public feedback about the school and saying, "After extensive discussions with the PS 114 community and local elected officials about the struggles this school has faced and its capacity to better serve its students, we have decided to keep PS 114 open. In the coming days we will work to develop a comprehensive plan for the school that will give it a real opportunity for success."

"What it means to the community is that someone is really listening to what the community is saying," parent Muba Yarofulani said.

P.S. 144 fell into the ranks of failing schools following the tenure of former principal, Maria Pena-Herrera, who was investigated and found to have misspent thousands of dollars in school funding, which parents say left the school in debt.

"The children suffered because of that. They didn't have the funding or the books or anything they needed to succeed," King said.

The reputation for failure was a blow to the neighborhood. Jamie Katz attended P.S. 114 as a child.

"It was prestigious then and has the potential to be prestigious always, and my son is in kindergarten and he's getting an education," Katz said.

Parents thanked their city council member, Charles Barron, for his efforts in keeping the school open.

"They need to stop phasing out these schools, not just our school. Phasing out doesn't make sense. Fixing up, does," Barron said.