Saturday, February 10, 2007

Pay to Play

Randall's Island, it appears, is bound for a new look. All we had to do was devote most of the island to private schools for a brief 20 years. After all, we're talking about 52.4 million bucks, and the private schools are gonna pay for it (over 20 years). The city doesn't have that kind of money (multi-billion surpluses are for other things). Unless, of course, it's paying even more than that for a no-bid tutoring contract, another valuable public-private partnership.

What this is about is values, and public school children simply don't cut it. Mayor Bloomberg could have built a school here, but he's using contaminated fields in the Bronx instead. Do you remotely imagine Dalton kids would play there? Do you think billionaire stadium owners would construct in a place like that?

No, Randall's Island is a playground for the rich in more ways than one. On Independence Day, Bloomberg LP (run by guess who), roped off a good portion of it for two weeks so it could have a private party.

Randalls Island Sports Foundation officials refused this week to answer questions about how much the company paid to use the park or what the foundation's policy is for private parties on the island.

Why don't you give 'em a call and ask whether you can have you can close part of it for your kid's birthday party this summer?

Even though Randalls Island has always been considered part of East Harlem, there is not a single resident of that neighborhood on the foundation's board....

That's because the mayor knows whats best for everyone, and excellent schools and parks are best for those who can pay for them. For everyone else, you know the drill.

Update: Class Size Matters states that the private schools are paying only half the cost for this new construction. Try getting a 20 year, no-interest loan when you buy something:

Contrary to what has been written in the press and elsewhere, the private school payments amount to less than half of the cost of this project. The present value of the annual payments by the private schools is only $33.2 million, while these fields are projected to cost between $70 and $ 80 million. Moreover, there is the considerable cost of maintaining them, which the city is expected to cover.

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