Thursday, December 28, 2006

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Quick, Let's Give it to Dalton)

Mayor Mike is all heart. Instead of leasing public parks to private schools for 30 years, he's going to try for 20 and see how that works out. Also, he's now proposing to give only 66% of the Randall's Island ballfields to private schools instead of 80%.

But no one has actually seen the proposed contract, according to Leonie Haimson, so whatever you may think, it's a tough call.

City Controller William Thompson and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer held a meeting to keep residents informed, at least as far as they're informed. Juan Gonzalalez writes:

Legally, Stringer and Thompson have no power to stop the deal. Both have a vote on the Franchise and Concession Review Committee, but Bloomberg controls four votes and doesn't need their support to get a contract approved. The mayor is even trying to change the rules of the franchise board so that its members can't review the details of any sole-source contract until the day of a vote.

Stringer initially wanted half of the Randalls Island fields set aside for the city's public schools. He was told the private schools would accept no less than two-thirds of the fields for their own students.

Our mayor, rather than dip into the city's huge surplus to finance the Randalls Island renovation directly, is only too happy to let the rich private schools buy their way into privileged access to a public park.

In East Harlem and the South Bronx, they're accustomed to after-Christmas sales, but now even the parks are up for grabs. What's next - carve your name in a tree for a fee?

Thanks to Schoolgal

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