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Instruction, not Disruption!

This petition had 716 supporters

Help schools in the John Jay Educational Complex get air conditioners to seal out noise and dust from a major construction project next door

We are the parents, teachers, staff, students and community members of the John Jay Education Complex (Park Slope Collegiate, Secondary School for Law, Secondary School for Journalism, and Millennium Brooklyn) in Brooklyn, NY. Beginning in September 2016 a construction project at New York Methodist Hospital (NYM), adjacent to our campus on 5th Street, will directly impact the learning environment at our schools for the next three years--almost entire high school careers for many of our students.

Construction noise, dust and fumes will threaten the health and education of our students, requiring windows to be kept closed even in the warm months, despite the fact that our 1905 building was constructed to rely on natural ventilation to maintain air quality and comfortable temperatures. Therefore it is imperative to install window air conditioners in our building immediately.

The three schools housed in the John Jay building that do not currently have ACs in all classrooms (Park Slope Collegiate, Secondary School for Law, and Secondary School for Journalism) serve a student population where 80 percent of the families qualify for free or reduced lunch. Consequently, students with the least resources will be disparately impacted by the detrimental effects of construction on student learning.

Methodist has offered to contribute $10,000, out of an estimated $150,000 needed, toward the cost of ACs for all of our classrooms, gyms, and cafeteria. We have concluded, after extensive research, that neither the city nor the Department of Education has any available channels through which to fund the remaining $140,000. Window ACs are explicitly excluded from funding through the School Construction Authority capital funds and through city council members' participatory budgeting efforts.

The Methodist construction project is creating the immediate need for ACs in our building. A $10,000 contribution, while welcome, is an incredibly small number when compared to the total construction budget, which is over $445 million.

We're not alone in these concerns. The Coalition for Safe Schools--a group of New York City schools and City Council members--is working to pass a bill that would require any construction project next to a public school to keep the construction noise heard in classrooms below 45 decibels. This is the maximum noise level recommended by experts, including Mt Sinai Hospital’s Children Environmental Health Unit.

We respectfully ask that New York Methodist Hospital and/or General Contractor Lend Lease provide the full funding (est. $150,000) for window air conditioning units in all classrooms, gyms, and cafeteria. NYM Hospital is an institution dedicated to health and well being, and we feel strongly that fully funding air conditioners represents the minimum accommodation that NYM Hospital and Lend Lease can provide to mitigate the detrimental effects this nearly half-billion dollar construction project will have on student health, safety, and learning.

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