Members of Community District Education Council 22 (CEC 22) convened virtually via Zoom on Tuesday evening, January 10th during which they discussed some of the most pressing facilities projects in their District.
The most important function of a CEC is to visit the schools within their District, work with principals to identify capital projects that need funding, prioritize their top five and then submit a request for approval. Members of CEC 22 have worked diligently for nearly five months to complete the Herculean task, but expressed how frustrated they are to see that their list is much the same as it was last year. One member said that a principal has been waiting nine years for a stairway to be repaired, while another said that the replacement of the heating and cooling system of another school has been a top priority on the board’s capital recommendation for more than four years, but has yet to be addressed.
Despite their mutual frustration, members of the group were able to agree on their top priority projects: boiler replacement at P.S.194, cafeteria upgrade at P.S. 139, increased hallway lighting at P.S. 152, a ramp and elevator for accessibility at I.S. 278 and remediation of a crumbling stairway at P.S. 195. They also included some smaller projects as alternates: adult height toilets and sinks in a school that serves only 3K-2nd grade students that need to be lowered, carpeting for a library and some resurfacing of a playground, which they hoped would also be considered. CEC 22 voted to approve their recommendation list, which they will submit for review by the January 13th deadline.
District 22 Deputy Superintendent Matthew Melchiorre, who stood in for Superintendent Julia Bove during the meeting, explained that having been a principal himself, he can certainly understand how frustrating such facility issues can be. He said that he and Superintendent Bove are holding one-on-one and round table discussions with principals as part of the midyear review process and assured the group that these kinds of capital projects are non-instructional topics they have been visiting. Melchiorre also reported that he had spent hours touring with Chancellor David Banks at I.S. 14 Shell Bank Junior High School, located at 2424 Batchelder Street, earlier in the day and that they both very impressed with what they saw – engaged, happy students.
The next meeting of CEC 22 will be held on Tuesday, February 7th at 6:30 p.m.