NEW YORK (CBS 2/1010 WINS) – Parents, teachers and elected officials gathered outside a Brooklyn school Tuesday afternoon to celebrate their successful fight to keep P.S. 114 open.
Community members declared victory and vowed to do everything in their power to make sure the public school on Remsen Ave. in Canarsie stayed open.
The community made a lot of noise through a grassroots effort and Councilman Charles Barron called the outcome “truly a David and Goliath story” and declared that “114 is off the list.”
“The real heroes of this and heroines are the parents,” Barron said to rousing applause.
Having the school stay open was what many parents had been fighting and praying for.
“I had hope no matter what. I had hope because we working so hard at it, but miracles do happen,” one parent told 1010 WINS’ Stan Brooks.
“Our emotions went from frustration and tears of sadness to tears of joy,” parent Jimmy Orr told CBS 2′s Demetra Ganias.
Last spring, the school received a “D” grade from the Department of Education with low test scores being a major factor. In November, PS 114 went on the chopping block and teacher Scott Shwartz said the DOE deserted them.
“They didn’t give us the resources, they didn’t give us the money. They said you’re on your own,” Shwartz said.
The blamed many of its problems on a former principal, who they said left the school nearly $200,000 in debt. Since then, a new interim principal was put in place, and finding a new team of administrators has become top priority.
The school is also asking the DOE to fund critical upgrades, including smart boards, literacy and math coaches in addition to after-school programs.
“We’re very ecstatic and happy and we’re in it for the long haul and we’re going to make sure that we come together as a team to make sure that we keep off the list,” School PTA president Crystal King said.
There was also renewed encouragement from Chancellor Cathie Black on Tuesday. In statement to CBS 2, Black said: “In the coming days, we will work to develop a comprehensive plan for the school that will give it a real opportunity for success.”
Public Advocate Bill DeBlasio said he didn’t think Black was willing to make the change, but applauded her for the decision.
“She did the right thing and I give her credit. Now I think it’s important that she focus on this school,” he told 1010 WINS.
“I feel wonderful. I could scream right now. It’s a wonderful, wonderful opportunity knowing that the fight that we have been fighting, it finally happened,” another parent said.