Dept. of Education building 2 new schools in District 20
School District 20 in Brooklyn, which educational leaders often describe as bursting at the seams due to overcrowded classrooms, is getting some relief.
The New York City Department of Education (DOE) is planning to build a new elementary-intermediate school on Third Avenue between 59th and 60th streets in Sunset Park as well as a new pre-kindergarten center on 93rd Street between Third and Fourth avenues in Bay Ridge.
The District 20 Community Education Council (CEC) will hold a public hearing on the plans on Thursday, Feb. 19, at the CEC headquarters, 415 89th St., at 6 p.m.
District 20 covers schools in Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights and parts of Sunset Park, Borough Park and Bensonhurst.
The Third Avenue school site is currently a vacant lot located across the street from P.S. 503 and P.S. 506, a pair of elementary schools that share a building at 330 59th St. The projected enrollment is 676 students, according to CEC President Laurie Windsor.
There is no target date on when it will open, Windsor said. DNAinfo.com reported on Feb. 10 that the site could possibly open in 2019, but that the date could change.
The pre-kindergarten center would be built at 369 93rd St. in a site currently occupied by a one-story medical office building. The center, which would accommodate 144 children, is expected to open in September of 2017.
Windsor told the Brooklyn Eagle the CEC will have to re-zone the schools surrounding the two new sites.
She predicted that the new school on Third Avenue will help ease overcrowding at P.S. 503 and P.S. 506 somewhat, but that parents shouldn’t expect it to be a cure-all. “We will still be an overcrowded district,” she told the Eagle on Wednesday.
Nearly all of the district’s schools are overcrowded, according to Windsor.
The CEC is constantly pushing the DOE to build new schools in the district, Windsor said. “We’ve had new schools open in the past few years, but it’s not enough,” she said.
One school, P.S. 176, at 1225 Bay Ridge Ave. in Dyker Heights, is operating at 175 percent capacity, Windsor told DNA Info.
The district’s new schools have included P.S. 748 at 1664 Benson Ave. in Bensonhurst, which opened in 2010 and P.S./I.S. 30 at 7002 Fourth Ave. in Bay Ridge, which welcomed its first students in 2013.
As for the new pre-k center in 93rd Street, Windsor said it probably won’t help ease overcrowding in elementary schools.
“It’s nice that they’re building it, don’t get me wrong. But it’s not going to do anything for us in terms of our overcrowding,” she told the Eagle. “We really need new elementary schools and junior highs.”
City officials are well aware of the district’s problems with lack of classroom space and high student enrollments. Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña told parents at a District 20 town hall at McKinley Intermediate School in Bay Ridge in December that she is aware of the district’s overcrowding situation.
“I know you’re overcrowded,” she said, adding that whenever she comes into the district, she makes an effort to look for “For Sale” and “For Rent” signs on buildings with an eye toward converting those structures into schools.
But there’s only so much she can do in the near-term, Fariña told parents. “I cannot build a building overnight,” she said.
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