Staffers from Public School 269 in Brooklyn’s Flatbush neighborhood claim principal Jazmine Santiago used funds from the struggling school to build herself a private gym on the school’s third floor. They insist the gym remains locked and is only used as by the principal.
The NY Post reports the gym includes a bench press, pull-up bar, treadmill, elliptical machine and thigh exerciser. The Post has photos of the private space. One source said that when the money spent was questioned, Santiago claimed to allow older kids to use the gym. The school only goes to grade five, so that is highly unlikely. How many grade school gym programs include elliptical and bench press routines? I’m guessing none.
One source told The Post, ”She comes in early, she goes to the gym. Even when class is in session, she’s still in the gym.” None of the sources were comfortable giving their names. Santiago reportedly didn’t return calls from The Post reporter. The paper reported her salary as $124,319. It easy to see why there would be bitterness with her allegedly willy-nilly reaching into the school funds for something like a personal gym. Teachers are notoriously underpaid, their salaries based on longevity and experience. The NYC Department Of Education lists this example, when explaining how teachers are paid:
“…a first-year teacher with the minimum number of educational credits will earn a base salary of $45,530, while a teacher with at least 22 years of experience and a master’s degree will make a base of $100,049.”
A teacher with 22 years experience and a masters still may not be making as much as Santiago. That coupled with the fact that if what they are alleging is true she is essentially stealing from children, makes it easy to understand why they would anonymously turn to the press to spur an investigation.
The NYC Department of Education is the largest school system in the country. I’m guessing they need all of the funds to keep their schools running smoothly. The Post reports Santiago’s school performed terribly on standardized tests last year. Only 16 percent of students passed state English tests and only 12 percent passed math exams. Yikes. If what these staffers are alleging is true, this principal needs to provide some answers, immediately.
(photo: Getty Images)