Principal of troubled Brooklyn elementary used school funds to build private gym, teachers say
A Brooklyn elementary school principal is being investigated after school sources told the New York Post that the woman spent school funds to equip a private gym for herself on the school grounds.
According to teachers at PS 269 in Flatbush, Principal Jazmine Santiago spent school funds on a gym located on the third floor of the school which is kept locked and private. The private workout area, located in a former storage room, reportedly contains a bench press, pull-up bar, treadmill, elliptical machine, and thigh exerciser.
According to staffers, Santiago claims she shares the gym with older students, however PS269 only goes to the fifth grade, making the oldest students approximately 11 or 12 years old, and probably not big enough to safely use some of the equipment unsupervised.
Teachers say the room is always locked and not accessible to other staff, and that Santiago devotes a considerable amount of time working out when she should be working.
“She comes in early, she goes to the gym. Even when class is in session, she’s still in the gym,” said another teacher.
According to the Post, the school has struggled during the four years Santiago has been the principal, with only 16 percent of students passing state English tests and only 12 percent passing their math exams last year.
Parents learning about the gym are dismayed at where the school funds have gone.
“That’s not right at all,” said Mike Johnson, 26, as he picked up third-grade stepson on Friday. “The funds should go to helping school issues like going toward bullying campaigns or extracurricular activities. I don’t understand how this helps.”
According to Department of Education spokesman Harry Hartfield, Santiago’s purchases are being investigated.
The Post states that Santiago has refused to comment and would not return phone calls.