PS 9 has lost $160K in funding
On Monday, June 19, PS 9 was informed that the school no longer qualifies as a high-poverty, Title I school. Instead of 60 percent low-income, we’re now at 59.1 percent (a difference of roughly 5 students not qualifying for free lunch). With that news, the school has just lost approximately $360,000 in federal funding for the next academic year (2012-2013). Our population is still majority low-income, to be sure—we simply do not meet the percentage requirement to qualify for the Title I funds. On June 27, the New York Times published an op-ed by a PS 9 parent about how the academic success and popularity of our school has ironically resulted in a funding shortfall.
Because of this loss of federal funds, a city funding program—Fair Student Funding—has kicked in to make up $200,000 of this shortfall, but the school is still left with an approximate $160,000 deficit for the 2012-2013 school year.
Teachers will lose their jobs unless we can offset the loss
Principal Sandra D’Avilar said in June that the loss of the Title I funding means 4 full-time teachers must be laid off, unless the PTO can come up with the money to cover the $160,000 shortfall. Why teachers? Because pretty much everything else that could be cut was already cut last year, including personnel. Our “extras” are now paid for by grant money and fundraising—earmarked funds that can’t be re-allocated. The PTO is asking PS 9 families as well as local homeowners and business owners to donate as much as they are able. As of August 8, more than $50,000 had been raised, which should save one teacher. If the PTO can raise more, other teachers may be able to be re-hired.
How you can make a difference today
Donate! $5, $50, $500, $5000. Whatever you can afford. Donations are fully tax deductible (The PTO is a 501(c)3 charity) and qualify for corporate matching funds. For info on how to donate online via credit card, go to
Checks can be made out to “PS9 PTO” and dropped in the PTO drop box in the main office or mailed to PS 9 PTO, 80 Underhill Ave Room 132A , Brooklyn, NY 11238.
Where the money will go
Under Department of Education regulations, the PTO cannot pay classroom teachers’ salaries, but it CAN pay for many other things, like science teachers, math and literacy coaches, equipment, supplies and more. Current donations will go toward all expenses other than classroom teacher salaries, so that Principal D’Avilar can free up the funds necessary to retain our full teaching staff.
Budget cuts in the past few years have taken $500 per student from PS 9, and this loss of funding will take another $250 per student. That’s $750 less per student. The PS 9 and Prospect Heights communities must band together to make up this dramatic shortfall and ensure that PS 9 continues to flourish and grow.
Let’s make sure PS 9 stays the neighborhood treasure that it is.
PS 9 is an incredible school, with a dynamic principal, a progressive educational approach, a focus on meeting individual needs and learning styles, a commitment to arts enrichment, ongoing professional development for teachers, a state of the art new library, a new playground, an outdoor classroom and garden, a trout-release project and much, much more. Because of its educational excellence and its extremely diverse, friendly community feel, it has become a magnet, drawing new families to the Prospect Heights neighborhood. All this, with about $450,000 less in fundraising than PS 321 in Park Slope. Let’s keep PS 9 going strong and give it what it needs to grow. A great public school benefits all of us–students, parents, Prospect Heights residents and business owners.
The PS 9 PTO is a 501(c)3 charity. In addition to solving this immediate challenge, tax-deductible donations can pay for books, supplies, additional teacher’s aides, upgrading technology, reinstating valuable programs lost to budget cuts, soundproofing the cafeteria and the gym, and more. Please consider making as large an immediate donation as you can, as well as setting up an ongoing monthly donation to keep our school great—and growing.