Number of Cramped Manhattan Schools Are on the Rise

86 out of 199 schools face space crunch

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Phil Mislinski/Stringer
    Manhattan schools are overcrowded, and a new report from the Manhattan Borough President announced the problem is getting worse.

    A new report found that congestion in New York City schools is only getting worse.

    The survey released by Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer finds that 43% of Manhattan's elementary and middle schools are too congested, the Daily News reports.

    The review found that 86 of the 199 schools surveyed are cramped, leading to disorganized planning that is frustrating for both the schools and children's parents.

    "This is a real escalation of a crisis we identified two years ago," Stringer told the News. "If we can't figure this out, we're going to have a lot of people fleeing this city the way they did in the '70s because they don't think their children can get a good education."

    One school that's facing the space crunch is Public School 199 on the Upper West Side. With 11 new residential buildings going up since 2001, classrooms are packed with new students. The News reports that the school has three fifth-grade classes; however, that number will shoot up once the current kindergartners reach the grade-level, as there are eight kindergarten classrooms now.

    "You don't really have to be a mathematician to understand that this is a huge growth," Michelle Ciulla Lipkin, co-president of the school's PTA told the News.

    The News reports that at P.S. 163, the school building is so cramped that kindergarten classes take place in two trailers. It was meant to be temporary, but 10 years later the trailers are still there.

    At Harlem's P.S. 149, space is shared between two other schools, the News said. It cannot use it's gym because a new charter school uses it as a lunchroom, and there is no music room. The lack of these resources is upsetting for parents.

    "We have the most beautiful music teacher. We have violins. We have keyboards. But we can't use them - because there's no space for a music room," Sonya Hampton told the News. Her children are in the third and sixth grades at the school.

    Stringer will hold a press conference later today with Congressman Jerrold Nadler for students, parents, teachers, and school advocates from around the borough to discuss the effects of haphazard school space planning in the city. He will release a catalog of firsthand experiences that reveal how Manhattan's elementary and middle schools are suffering from the negative consequences of failed planning of public schools. In addition Stringer will release a set of "best practices" for the co-location and relocation of public schools.

    "We understand that sharing space can create anxiety for school communities, and we support the borough president's objectives," Education Department spokesman Matthew Mittenthal told the News. "As early as last October, the department gave advance notice to Manhattan schools that additional schools might be located on their campuses.

    However, Stringer thinks more can be done.

    "Times are tough, so capital planning will be slower," Stringer told the News, "but there are solutions if you plan ahead."