Rep. Maloney Calls for Plan to Address School Overcrowding in East Midtown
New York, NY - Last Thursday, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan, Queens) organized a meeting with the Department of Education, representatives of Manhattan Community Board 6 and the East Midtown Coalition for Sensible Development (EMCSD), the Principal, the PTA and parents from P.S. 116 and other elected officials including Councilman Dan Garodnick, Councilwoman Jessica Lappin, Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh, State Senator Tom Duane, and State Senator Liz Krueger to discuss severe overcrowding problem at elementary schools in East Midtown. At the meeting, Maloney called on the Department of Education to come up with a viable plan to alleviate the severe overcrowding at P.S. 116 and present it at a follow up meeting in 6 weeks.
According to the Grier Partnership 2005 report conducted for the NYC School Construction Authority, District 2 is experiencing the greatest increase in elementary and middle school enrollment in the city. The report states that District 2 is expected to gain enrollment of 9.1% during the years 2004-2009 and 24.7% between 2004-2014. P.S. 116, zoned for District 2, is currently operating at 110% capacity. At the same time, new developments, including the development proposed for the former Con Edison Waterside Site, will cause enrollment to skyrocket. The Department of Education confirmed that negotiations with East River Realty Company (ERRC) are ongoing, but underscored the fact that the new school at the Con Ed site is not currently slated to be completed until 2014 and that the new housing being built by ERRC is expected to include enough children to fill the school. As a result, it is not a solution to current overcrowding at other area schools, including P.S. 116.
“East Midtown schools are severely overcrowded and we need the Department of Education to come up with short- and long-term plans to deal with this crisis,” Maloney said. “I am glad that a new school is included in ERRC’s development proposal, but it will not be enough to alleviate overcrowding at schools like P.S. 116.”
“The Department of Education must ensure that schools in this neighborhood can continue to provide the best possible education for our children. I am extremely concerned to hear that overcrowding may force P.S. 116 to eliminate Pre-K classes – studies show that Pre-K contributes more to the future success of children than any other level of education. I would also object to eliminating programs such as science, arts, music and other programs that are vital to educating our young people. That’s why I am calling on the Department of Education to come up with solutions that address the severe student overcrowding and present them at a follow up meeting in 6 weeks,” Maloney added.
Enrollment for Fall 2007 at P.S. 116 has increased by 15%, or by 100 students, in this past year alone. P.S. 116 has 7 kindergarten classes, three of them with enrollments of 28 children. The maximum enrollment for kindergarten is supposed to be 25.
Reportedly, 32 new high-rise buildings with approximately 3500 new units are currently being built between East 26th Street and East 43rd Street. All of these buildings are zoned for P.S. 116.
The Grier Partnership drafted a report for the Department of Education School Construction Authority of Enrollment Projections 2005-2014 New York City Public Schools. The report shows that Community School District 2 is projected to have the most overcrowding of any school district in the city. See https://source.nycsca.org/pdf/EnrollmentProjections2005-2014.pdf for a copy of this report.