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Student Protesters Walk Out

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At 12:05 p.m. on Friday, March 9, the students of Schomburg Satellite Academy in the South Bronx walked out of their classes and marched to the office of State Senator Ruben Diaz at 900 Rogers Place.

The student-led protest was a response to a Department of Education plan that would place a charter school in their building, taking away 47.5% of the school’s classrooms.
 
A group of sixty students stood outside the Senator’s office, chanted, and displayed signs to the media, police, and onlookers. Senator Diaz conferenced with four representatives of the group, and emerged from the meeting with a message of support for their demands that no school should take away classrooms from the existing schools.
 
The protest came in preparation for the Joint Public Hearing for Schomburg Satellite Academy and Bronx Regional High School by the Department of Education and the SUNY Charter Schools Institute. Meeting information is listed below:
 
Bronx Regional Complex: Joint Public Hearing
1010 Rev. James A. Polite Avenue
Bronx, NY 10459

Monday, March 12 at 6:00 p.m.
 
The plan proposed by the Department of Education would reduce the number of classrooms in Satellite Academy by 47.5% and in Bronx Regional by 25.8% to make room for a new charter school backed by the Department of Education, starting in September 2012. It is opposed by the students, parents, community organizations, and the UFT chapters of both high schools.
 
“I am just trying to understand why we are always the last to know when it comes to decisions you make for our children,” contended Nona Sameuls, Satellite’s PTA President, in a March 7 meeting with Department of Education officials responsible for the plan. Parents and students were taken by surprise when the proposal for the new school was announced on February 2, 2012.

Strong opposition from parents and community members is expected at the March 12 hearing.

 

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Geoffrey Gloak

may be one of the few people you meet who is always glad to talk taxes. He has spent 17 years immersed in government communications – almost entirely in the tax field. He currently serves as the Director of Public Relations at the New York State Tax Department. In each of Geoff’s positions, he has created opportunities to transform the communications environment for the benefit of the organization. Under his leadership, Tax Department public relations have shifted from a reactive focus to proactive outreach. Most recently, Geoff led the STAR Registration media campaign to assist 2 million homeowners with property tax relief while eliminating fraud. As a result of extensive press outreach, more than 300 articles were printed in daily papers alone, and broadcast media repeatedly covered the story in each corner of the state. Less than 5 months after launch, 2.3 million homeowners had registered for their property tax exemptions. Geoff (@gloak23) lives in Kinderhook with his journalist wife, Kristi Berner (@kristiberner), and 4-year-old daughter, Gemma, who is now proud to be able to write her name.