Tuesday, November 24, 2015

PS 58 In Carroll Gardens May Lose Pre-K Next Year Unless Solution To Overcrowding Can Be Found

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One of New York Mayor DeBlasio's mandates when he was elected was to create more Pre-Kindergarden spots in the city.  It therefore seems ironic that our own local elementary school,  Public School 58, also knows as the Carroll School, may not be offering pre-K classes next year.
PS 58's principal Katie Dello Stritto confirmed the news that had been circulating amongst parents for a while.  In a letter to the school community which was sent out a few days ago, Strito writes:

"Our community continues to grow and we are very grateful for all that comes with that growth, but as you know, we are experiencing a space crunch. As we discussed at the Oct. 21st forum on over-crowding and at this week’s PTA meeting, it is unlikely that PS 58 will be able to retain its three Pre-Kindergarten classrooms in the building for the 2016-2017 school year. 
I am sure many of you have heard about this as you talk with your friends and read news articles. I regret that we will need to either eliminate or move our Pre-K program out of the building; this move is necessary to meet the needs of our growing community. As our current students in Kindergarten through 2nd grade move up, we need more classrooms in the upper grades. 
We are very fortunate that the School Leadership Team has formed a group of parents and staff members who are diligently working together to find alternate solutions for Pre-K classes for next year. However, at this time there is not yet anything concrete to report regarding space for next year. I am speaking regularly with our District 15 Superintendent as well as officials in Brad Lander’s office who understand that, like so many other areas, we require more space to meet our students’ needs."

The news certainly cannot come as too much of a surprise.  As we all know, Carroll Gardens has become more and more popular amongst young couples with children.  Several large scale developments catering to families have risen in the neighborhood in the last decade. The problem will get even worse with the completion of the 700-unit Lightstone Group Project on Bond Street, the proposed 770 unit housing development at Public Place at Smith Street and countless others that are in the works.

Apparently, PS58 is currently at 130 percent capacity.  This is simply the result of poor planning on New York City's part, which should have taken measures long ago to create more school seats to accommodate all the students moving into the neighborhood. 

PS 58 once had an annex right across the street, which was built in the 1950s or 60s on leased land at 360 Smith Street to provide additional classrooms if the need should ever arose.  The Department of Education used it for years to house the District 15 offices. About 10 years ago, the DoE canceled the land lease and walked away from the building.   The owner of the land, Bill Stein, then sold the building to the Hannah Senesh Community Day School in 2006. (Subsequently, Stein built a new development right next door at Second Place and Smith Street that attracted young families)

Had the City held on to the building at that time, PS 58's problems today could perhaps been solved very easily.  But instead, the DoB was shortsighted.

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The Hannah Senesh School building at 342 Smith Street.
The original building was erected in the 50s or 60s by DoE as an annex for PS 58.
For years, it house the District 15 office.


It is unlikely that Pre-K space will be found in enough time to accommodate the little ones in our neighborhood for the 2016-17 school year.
As a long time resident of Carroll Gardens and mother of two children who once attended PS 58 from Pre-K to 5th grade, that makes me rather sad.
Let us hope that a solution will be found, and soon.

Below are some photos of my kids at PS 58 Pre K.  Who remembers Miss Hogan, the best teacher ever?
My daughter's Pre-k class at PS58 in 1991
 Pre-K classroom back then
Pre-K teacher Miss Hogan with my daughter C, and some classmates
Daughter C in Pre-K
 My son M. class in 1995
 My son M. with Miss Hogan



10 comments:

Anonymous said...

What school is the Lighthouse Development zoned for? I am assuming it isn't 58?

Anonymous said...

I kinda think that many of the new residents in the area are wealthy enough that they will be able to pay for private pre-k and other schools. It's the have-nots that are in trouble.

Anonymous said...

If 58 eliminated their French program, I bet they'd have room for Pre-K.

Anonymous said...

The Lightstone Development is zoned for PS 32 which is co-located with MS 442. Plans are for MS 442 to move out of the building (to an undetermined location) to make room for all the new little Lightstoners at PS 32.

Anonymous said...

I'm thinking a lot of these kids that attend 58s don't even live in the neighborhood..that should be checked out...

Anonymous said...

I think Anonymous at 10:20 is spot on. PS 29 used to do door-to-door address checks. It might be time for PS 58 to find out which of their students don't live in the zone.

Anonymous said...

Interesting note about the once Publicly owned PS 58 annex that once stood across the street. That building has classrooms on the second floor and was rated for an occupancy of 220 and had play space on the roof. The loss of that space points to overall poor city planning. Wasn't de Blasio on the school board and serving as city councilman when the city sold off the PS58 annex?

Below is from the City Planning Technical Memorandum which our Community Board 6 and current councilman approved to allow the zoning for 700 units of housing on the Lightstone property claiming that: "Proposed Modifications would not result in any significant adverse impacts on public schools in the study area."

Our city land use procedures and city planning process is just plain broken--current parents should be aware of how much trust they put into the city 's planning systems, the city ULURP process, and motivations of CB6 members and elected representatives.


FROM: 363-365 Bond Street CEQR No. 08DCP033K. ULURP Nos. M090048(A) ZSK
PUBLIC SCHOOLS

"The CEQR Technical Manual recommends conducting a detailed analysis of public schools if a project would generate more than 50 elementary/intermediate school students and/or more than 150 high school students. Based on the development of 700 residential units and the student generation rates provided by the 2012 CEQR Technical Manual (0.29 elementary, 0.12 intermediate, and 0.14 high school students per housing unit in Brooklyn), the Approved Project with the Proposed Modifications would generate approximately 203 elementary school students, 84 intermediate school students, and 98 high school students. This number of students warrants a detailed analysis of the projects’ potential impacts on elementary and intermediate schools. The analysis below finds that the Approved Project with the Proposed Modifications would not result in any significant adverse impacts on public schools in the study area."

Katia said...

Yes, Bill deBlasio sat on the school board at the time or even had already become out Councilman. Carmen Farina was Superintendant of District 15 when it moved out of that building.

Actually, as I understand, DoE did not even sell the building, because they had only leased the land it was built on. Once they broke the land lease, the building reverted to landowner Bill Stein, who sold it kept the profit, of course.

Anonymous said...

If deBlasio and Farina decided to give up the annex, then surely they must have a plan. Maybe the pre-K classes can be moved into deBlasio and Farina's homes.

brigitta galati said...

Wow I had Miss Hogan in Kindergarten in 1980.