P.S. 87 Dual-Language Program Saved From Budget Cuts

By Emily Frost on August 22, 2013 12:07pm 

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 The program is safe for this year after budget shortfalls threatened its future, DOE reps confirmed. 
P.S. 87 Dual-Language Program Saved
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UPPER WEST SIDE — The longtime dual-language program at P.S. 87 has been saved from the chopping block, the Department of Education confirmed.

The five Spanish-language classes in kindergarten through fourth grade at the West 78th Street elementary school will not be cut this coming school year, despite being threatened by a budget shortfall earlier this year, said DOE spokesman Devon Puglia.

At the end of the school year, parents learned from Principal Monica Berry that two of the dual-language teachers, who alternate teaching in Spanish and English, would be let go because of the budget gap and that two others were taking personal leave, leaving the program with just one class. 

But the threatened layoffs won't happen, parents said, and the DOE confirmed that the school's five dual-language classes had been saved.

"It is my understanding that no dual-language, or other, teachers at P.S. 87 are going to be laid off this year," said Liz Ortech-Rose, head of P.S. 87's Dual-Language Parent Committee.

While the two other teachers who taught the dual-language program are still leaving for personal reasons, other teachers at the school will be able to take over their classes, said Parent Association Co-President Ann Binstock.

"There are some other people in the school who have experience teaching Spanish classes. We’ve been able to shuffle people around," she said.  

Binstock added that Principal Berry was able to successfully lobby the DOE to reinstate part of her budget so that she would not have to lay off any teachers, including the two dual-language instructors.

"[Principal Berry] worked very hard with the DOE in many meetings this summer," Binstock said.

Parents also put pressure on the DOE, she said. 

In June, upset parents created an online petition to save the program, citing 25 years of its success at the school.

More than 1,200 supporters signed the petition, addressed to Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott and state and city officials. 

"This program's families and students are a treasured and important part of the P.S. 87 family," wrote Binstock.

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