Education Council ask for P.S.14 investigation

With problems still unresolved at P.S. 14, city officials are looking to set up a meeting with the Community Education District Council 8.

Although the meeting is still in the works, and the city officials contacted said no agenda has been set, the meeting will focus on ways to bring P.S. 14’s falling grades back up.

Last month the Department of Education released the progress reports for city schools. P.S. 14 fell from an A to a C, and many in the community are pointing at Jason Kovac, who took over as principal in August 2008, as the reason for the drop.

“We want the truth to come out,” said Bob Franklin, president of CEDC 8. “It’s been one of the best schools in District 8, and this guy takes over and boom, the school takes a nose dive. I want to focus on why teachers are leaving. I want to see what’s going on. The truth has to come out.”

Since spring 2010 parents and teachers have been voicing concerns about the principal’s management methods, some saying that they are concerned for their children’s safety, and others saying they are routinely intimidated and verbally abused.

Earlier this month Community Board 10, which plans to attend the meeting, called on Joel Klein, now former Chancellor of the Department of Education, and to Richard Condon, the Special Commissioner of Investigation for the New York City School District, to investigate why the school fell so far in this last round of progress reports.

DOE officials said so far the school is not on the list to be investigated.

Franklin said he has yet to meet with Kovac about the problems in the school, and would like the opportunity to sit down to discuss the issues face-to-face. But since Kovac failed to show up at the last few meeting, Franklin said he’s not sure if he will ever get the chance.

“His network will show up, but he’ll cancel,” Franklin said. “At the (Monday, November 22, PTA) meeting he didn’t show up. He threw his PTA and his parent coordinators to the dogs.”

PTA co-president Diana Colamarino remembers the Monday PTA meeting as happening very differently.

She said angry parents disrupted the PTA meeting to the point that the annual raffle to raise funds for the school’s holiday celebration was cancelled.

“Who’s getting spited in that? Not Kovac, not the administration, it’s the kids,” she said. “I think it’s just a witch hunt at this point. Nobody wants to hear the answers they are being given.”

Colamarino said the administration has always been forthcoming with information, which the PTA passes on to the parent and student body. She said most of the complaints are coming from teachers and former teachers who have personal, rather than professional problems with Kovac, and it is unlikely anything will be resolved with a meeting.

“We aren’t sure what the problem is and they’re coming to us with issues that they should be handling on their own,” she said. “They don’t like him on a personal level, but everybody needs to go to work if they like their boss or not.”

Jim McQuade, chairman of CB 10’s Economic Development Committee, said he looks forward to a meeting with the DOE and CEDC, so that the board can finally get some answers.

“There are a lot of fences to mend between the parents and the administration and I look forward to hearing about any results,” he said.

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