Upper East Side Elected Officials Applaud NYC Dept. of Education, Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish on Long-Term Lease for Local Public School
News Release: June 22, 2012
Contact: Brice Peyre, 212-860-0606 or 646-831-1649
B Rep. Maloney, Elected Officials Hail Chancellor Walcott, Church Leadership on Signing of 15-Year Lease for P.S. 527 in Yorkville -
New York, NY Today, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney and NYS Assembly Member Dan Quart joined New York City Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott to applaud an agreement struck between the New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE) and the Our Lady of Good Counsel Roman Catholic parish to sign a 15-year lease allowing the site, which once had housed a parochial school, to be used for a new public elementary school, P.S. 527, for a period of fifteen years.
NYC Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott welcomed the elected officials to the future home of P.S. 527, and said, “This Fall, P.S. 527 will open new kindergarten classes, and help meet the growing demand for public school seats on the Upper East Side. I want to thank the strong partnership of parents and elected officials who worked with us to make P.S. 527 a reality.”
At today=s event, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan & Queens) said, “I salute Chancellor Walcott, the Department of Education, and the Our Lady of Good Counsel parish for forging this agreement, which will help ensure there are enough public elementary school classroom seats to serve families in our neighborhood for the next decade and a half. After years of overcrowding on the East Side, another new school will provide much-needed relief. I think both the Department and the parish could teach a number of lawmakers in Washington a thing or two about working together in a spirit of mutually beneficial cooperation for the greater good of all!”
“School overcrowding remains a critical problem on the Upper East Side. As enrollment rates continue to increase, it is crucial that school construction keep pace with this growth. I commend the Department of Education for zoning P.S. 527 as a community elementary school. I look forward to seeing this school become another excellent public elementary school on the Upper East Side,” said New York State Assembly Member Daniel Quart (D-Manhattan).
Although unable to attend the event in person, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer said in a written statement, “I am pleased the Department of Education has negotiated a new lease for the former Our Lady of Good Counsel building on East 91st Street. The experience of school overcrowding on the Upper East Side over the past several years has highlighted the need for aggressive capital planning, and I congratulate the DOE on securing this vital space to serve the educational needs of this growing community for years to come. As the former home to P.S. 151, temporary home to P.S. 51, and future home to P.S. 527, I am thrilled that this beloved building will remain a valuable asset to the Yorkville neighborhood.”
Also submitting a statement was NYS Senator Liz Krueger (D-Manhattan), who said, “"We have fantastic schools here in Community School District 2, but they've been overcrowded for far too long. I'm thrilled that the City and the parish have been able to work together, and look forward to having another outstanding public elementary school open, preparing our children for success, and easing the burden of overcrowding.”
In a statement, NYS Senator José Serrano (D-Manhattan, Bronx) said, “It’s wonderful that District 2 will now have another elementary school to help ease the burden of overcrowding on the Upper East Side. I'm glad that a long-term agreement was reached that will benefit our children for years to come by giving them more classroom space as they embark on the path to success.”
“I congratulate Chancellor Walcott and Our Lady of Good Counsel parish on coming together so that this great building will be used as a brand new public school,” said New York State Assembly Member Micah Kellner (D Manhattan & Roosevelt Island) in a written statement.
New York City Council Member Jessica Lappin (D-Manhattan & Roosevelt Island) said in a written statement, “Our community has been fighting for more public school space for years. Having a 15-year commitment that Our Lady of Good Counsel will be used for classrooms is great news.”
NYC Council Member Dan Garodnick (D-Manhattan) said in a written statement, “Upper East Siders have seen major classroom capacity challenges, from kindergarten waitlists to our regular scramble for new seats, so we need to find permanent spaces for schools. Locking in Our Lady of Good Counsel is welcome news, and I am certain that this space will will allow the tradition of high-quality public education in our neighborhood to continue.”
In 2005 and 2006, after helping organize an effort to create a new school in a zone that lacked one, Congresswoman Maloney joined with Borough President Stringer to found and co-chair a task force on overcrowded schools in Manhattan.
On August 31, 2012, the current lease agreement between the NYCDOE and the New York Archdiocese governing the site at 323 East 91st Street in Manhattan (that in the past had housed a now-closed parochial school operated by the Our Lady of Good Counsel Roman Catholic parish) will expire. The agreement being hailed today by Upper East Side elected officials establishes a new lease that will allow P.S. 527 to operate as a public elementary school at the site for the next 15 years.
In 2000, the original location of P.S. 151, a public elementary school on the Upper East Side, was closed, and students zoned for that location attended other schools across the Upper East Side. That site has been redeveloped through the Educational Construction Fund (ECF) and now houses East Side Middle School, built at no cost to the City. NYCDOE initially leased the school building owned by Our Lady of Good Counsel parish at 323 East 91st Street in order to house a new P.S. 151 which opened in September 2009.
In September 2011, P.S. 151 moved to the Richard R. Green building at 412 East 88th Street in Manhattan, and the leased space at the Our Lady of Good Counsel site is currently used by P.S. 51 while P.S. 51’s new building is undergoing construction. In September 2012, P.S. 51 students will be in classrooms on the newly renovated top floor of Our Lady of Good Counsel, and a new elementary school, P.S. 527, will move into the bottom two floors. In September 2013, P.S. 51 will begin operating in a brand-new facility being built at 525 West 44th Street in September 2013 by the NYS School Construction Authority.
P.S. 527 will enroll its first class of kindergarten students in the fall of this year, and ultimately will accommodate elementary students in kindergarten through fifth grades. The new lease agreement will ensure that P.S. 527 will be able to remain at 323 East 91st Street for the long term. At the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year, P.S. 51 is scheduled to return to its mid-town West location.