Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Decoding the Daily News's belated story about Brooklyn Tech and AY

Seventeen months ago, after approval of the Atlantic Yards project in December 2006, the Daily News massively overhyped--with the headline "Nets go High Tech: Ratner throws in new home for elite Brooklyn HS in arena deal"--a vague plan by Forest City Ratner to "work with the City, State and the United Federation of Teachers on the creation of a new 21st Century Brooklyn Tech High School, at a yet to be determined location in the borough."

There was no promised new home, and it certainly wasn't guaranteed to be Atlantic Yards. In April 2007, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle shot down any such plans, saying that influential alumni were opposed to the idea of leaving the largest high school in the country--prime potential real estate--and that the Department of Education had no plans to move.

Now they tell us

The Daily News should've responded immediately. Instead, more than a year later, we get a story today, disingenuously headlined Brooklyn Tech building not slated for Atlantic Yards. The article states:
A new building for Brooklyn Technical High School won't be part of the controversial Atlantic Yards project, city officials said.

"There's no such plan," said Mike Weiss, chairman of the Fort Greene school's alumni foundation. "Nobody's working on anything like that."

Developer Bruce Ratner had agreed to work with the city, state and teachers union officials, after the project won key state approval in December 2006, to include a new building for the specialized high school.


That's false. The plan was for a "yet to be determined location."

Where's UFT?

The article quotes Department of Education officials reps as saying the plan never got off the ground, and offered this telling detail:
United Federation of Teachers officials did not return calls seeking comment.

UFT head Randi Weingarten has been a prominent supporter of Atlantic Yards. She should at least explain how this all came about.

Another school at AY, but much smaller

Today's article misleadingly suggests that Forest City Ratner, in its agreement to provide space for a school at Atlantic Yards, might have been able to accommodate Brooklyn Tech:
As part of another agreement, the Memo of Environmental Commitments, Ratner also agreed to provide space for a kindergarten-to-eighth-grade school.

"If Brooklyn Tech is not interested, a space will be provided for a school, regardless," said Forest City Ratner spokesman Joe DePlasco.

The city has until 2010 to ask the developer to set aside space for that school. City officials said it could potentially be part of the capital plan due out in November.


The school at Atlantic Yards would be 100,000 square feet. Brooklyn Tech has 600,000 square feet. DePlasco is up to his old tricks. The Daily News should've included that context.

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