BY JON CRONIN
The City School Construction Authority has announced that they will conduct a feasibility study for an extension at Middle Village’s PS/ IS 128, a school at 128 percent capacity.
The school, which resides in District 24, New York City’s most overcrowded school district, was originally slated by the SCA to get a free standing Universal Pre-K center built over its playground. Currently, 1st and 2nd graders are housed at an isolated annex across the street with no gym or computer lab, some rooms have no windows and children are forced to cross a busy intersection to get there.
After hearing of the plans to create a UPK center, in September the community was outraged that the SCA would create a new building for new students and not address the existing overcrowding. At an emergency meeting held by Community Education Council for District 24, the SCA announced that they would not pursue the UPK center.
Nick Comaiannni, president of CEC 24, said this extension is part of their formal budget and the council has been pushing the SCA to start on the project for a long time.
Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Glendale) wrote a letter opposing the UPK construction to Lorraine Grillo, SCA president and CEO. She explained that in a school with such significant overcrowding, the SCA’s priority should be to allocate space for children already inconvenienced. Grillo agreed to go ahead with a feasibility study on an extension for the school.
As part of the announcement for the new extension, Grillo, stated, “We are committed to working together with all stakeholders to reduce overcrowding. This new addition will allow us to continue our work to address overcrowding in School District 24. We are proud of our strong partnership with local leaders that has enabled us to provide more school seats for our students.”
“Since opening its new building in 2009, PS/IS 128 could not contain its student population, forcing kids to use the annex across the street. I have continually called attention to the need for new schools and more education space in my district, and P.S./I.S. 128 was not provided the proper amount of seats from its inception,” Crowley said. “I am so pleased the SCA recognized this and will move forward with an extension, rightfully bringing all of the school’s students back into one building and alleviating burdensome overcrowding. I am looking forward to working with the school community on the details of this project so the addition can benefit everyone. When our children are in the best environment to learn, they are given the best opportunity to succeed.”
Reach Reporter Jon Cronin at (718) 357-7400 x125, firstname.lastname@example.org or @JonathanSCronin