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You regular readers of this column know that I am a graduate of Brooklyn Tech High School. Four years ago I had a 50-year reunion with my swim teammates, who were the New York City PSAL Champions for several years. Twenty-eight teammates came from all over the country to the reunion; one even came in from Argentina. We challenged the present Tech swim team, now consisting of boys and girls, to a swim meet and still managed to beat the 16- and 17-year-olds in four events. Some of us old fogies could still move in the water. It was a fun meet and everyone young and old loved it. Fifty years ago, Tech was an all-boys school and was, and still is, one of the top high schools in the city. It was and still is the second largest high school in the country, with many famous graduates who are leaders and innovators in all fields. All Technites were proud to have graduated from that pristine high school on Fort Greene Place, which boasted an FM radio station and an auditorium that could seat 3000 students. So it bothered me to read an article in the Daily News that the Mayor and Schools Chancellor Klein were contemplating selling off the school and building a newer, smaller one. Hey, Mayor Bloomberg, heres a word of sound advice: If it aint broke, dont fix it! Your Chancellor and your revamping of the school system still hasnt proven successful. If it were, you and Klein wouldnt be making all these drastic changes every year. Nor would you be losing all the educational talent and expertise that have fled the system since you took it over. Its still too early for you to brag about your success. The test scores will tell in a few years. How come youre so hopped up about taking over Brooklyn Tech and youve ignored the taking over of another pristine building, P.S. 248? Ive invited you several times in this column to have lunch with me at the Chinese restaurant opposite the Transit Learning Center and watch nobody go in and out. That valuable piece of property and school should be returned to the district. The MTA has gotten its use out of it these past 20 years and to think they were paying a dollar a year for that privilege. So youve got to contend with my bugging you about P.S. 248 and now my alma mater, Brooklyn Tech! And I will be reaching out to my teammates, as well as fellow graduates to challenge you on the destruction of our beautiful high school. Heres a graduate who reached out to me. Dear Mr. Santa Maria: I'm sending you a copy of the statement I made at the Educational Panel meeting held on Jan. 22, 2007 at the Tweed Courthouse. I would appreciate it if you were to include my statement in your weekly column. Sincerely yours, Melvin Band (1959). Topic: The DOEs unconscionable plan to evict Tech's students without just cause and without just compensation which goes beyond the dictates of even eminent domain. This plan is predicated on a bizarre lie that older buildings cost too much to update to meet the demands of the 21st century. So let's build new. You can argue the law in front of the Supreme Court, but you can't spin the truth in front of me. Exhibit A. The 19th century (completed 1881) Tweed Courthouse, right here, updated by Mayor Bloomberg for a fraction of the cost of a new Tweed. There are hundreds of buildings including schools updated just like Tweed. What I perceive to be Chancellor Klein's rebuttal. Don't believe what you see, Mr. Band. Believe what the mayor and I spin, because in our world, reason and logic don't count for a hill of beans, only politics. Tech principal Randy Asher and Tech alum CEO Matt Mandery aren't talking to the press. Are they victims of a gag order, Mr. Constitutional lawyer? Your Margie Feinberg said a mouthful: "We are always in discussions with people about schools." What schools and what people, Margie? Any bids from the several private colleges and universities a few minutes from Tech who need more space? What we have here is a perverted version of Jack and the Beanstalk." Tech will get a much smaller school made with spit in a less safe neighborhood. On the other hand, you'll get the goose that lays the golden eggs -- Tech's cash cow. Do I have a bid for Tech's 600,000 square feet of real estate, the size of 11 football fields in a vibrant neighborhood with all the amenities? How much can I bid for Techs modern theater with an old world touch? 3,012 seats, second only to Radio City Music Hall. It would make a terrific addition to BAM, not to mention the naming rights. How does Barclays Bank Theater sound? Politics as usual? You do for them; they do for you; but nobody does for the kids! I really didnt know Mr. Lamb, but he contacted me and he hit the right chord. Now I will be Screeching for Brooklyn Tech and getting my swimmates involved, to reach out to their fellow classmates and fight for our beloved school. Mr. Mayor, stop hiring business people to educate our children and hire dedicated educators who are interested in the children, not dollars. Are your financial experts too stupid to realize that our greatest assets are our children who will be our future? Youre good at making billions, Mr. Mayor. Now concentrate on using those billions on our future our children! And Mr. Mayor, Im still waiting to take you to lunch, so you can focus on P.S. 248 and not Brooklyn Tech! Screech at you next week!
©2007 Community Newspaper Group
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