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Pelham Parkway schools are overflowing

The Pelham Parkway community is seeking relief from the overcrowding burdening its elementary school.

Community organizations, such as the Pelham Parkway South Neighborhood Association are concerned with the school’s growing population, particularly in P.S. 105, located 725 Brady Avenue, and are urging elected officials to find a solution.

“I’m very concerned, the school can’t handle more children inside and we are in dire need of an annex because this neighborhood is getting more children with all the new buildings going up,” said Edith Blitzer, president of the PPSNA. “These kids deserve a quality education and decent classrooms that are not overcrowded.”

One possible solution the community had hoped would alleviate some of the strain is off the table. Young Israel of Pelham Parkway’s building, located at 2126 Barnes Avenue, was sold recently to a group that is turning it into an MRI facility. It would have presented an ideal solution.

Young Israel’s Congregation has diminished in size over the years and no longer waned to be saddled with the large building’s maintenance costs.

“I think it’s both a good move for the synagogue and something that will benefit the community,” said president of the congregation, Charles Landzberg. “It’s a happy ending and a new beginning in my mind.”

Another possible solution could be provided by the five year capital plan through the Department of Education, which recognized a need for more seats within School District 11, calling for approximately 1,476 seats divided between two new school buildings, costing roughly $ 153 million.

In response to the plan, Councilman Jimmy Vacca requested a preliminary study of P.S. 105 and P.S. 96 to assess the existing school grounds.

“Under the scheduled five year plan we would gain two new schools, but rather than start from scratch and since we don’t have much open land, I felt it would be best to look into building additions onto existing schools,” said Vacca. “I felt it would make it faster and provide the space we need.”

According to DOE, studies were conducted at the schools, which are currently being reviewed.

“We are in the siting process of determining where those two buildings should be located and we are happy to work with Councilman Vacca to see if his recommendations are feasible,” said William Havemann, spokesperson for DOE. “At this time we are keeping all our options open to make the best decision for the District 11 kids.”

Principal Marta Garcia of P.S. 96, located on Waring Avenue, feels an addition to the schools structure would be an improvement for students, as well as reassure parent’s of their child’s safety.

“These portables were meant to be a temporary solution, and we currently have 22 portables, the most in District 11,” said Garcia. “Anytime a teacher wants to bring her class to the building they have to get fully dressed to walk outside, whether its snowing, sleeting, or raining. It would also free up recreational space in the schoolyard.”

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