A pair of crowded Bronx schools could soon see some relief. According to Councilman Oliver Koppell, the Department of Education has identified a new school site on Webster Avenue in Norwood.
If the school is approved, it could accommodate students from P.S. 8 and P.S. 56. According to a 2008 report published by the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition, Bedford Park, Norwood, Kingsbridge and Riverdale comprise the city’s third most crowded school district.
“For years, I have petitioned the Bloomberg administration and the DOE for more school seats in Norwood,” Koppell said.
About 1,150 children attend P.S. 8, a school intended for 800. About 600 attend P.S. 56, a school intended for 475. The new school would accommodate about 600 children.
“These kids are learning in closets, in hallways, in rooms with no ventilation,” said Naydu Roberts, a member of P.S. 8’s parent association. “It’s awful.”
The site in question is 3177 Webster Avenue, a 1.3-acre parking lot between E. 204th and E. 205th streets. City property as of February, the lot accommodates 150 vehicles.
CB7 will schedule a public hearing soon. According to Koppell, the city’s School Construction Authority will receive public comments until May 11. Roberts pulled her daughter – a fourth grader – out of private school last year, for financial reasons.
“It’s hard,” Roberts said. “She’s not used to the noise, the bullying. There are 32 kids in her class. It’s too chaotic for her.”
In January, the school district’s Community Education Council approved a DOE rezone of seven neighborhood schools, including P.S. 8 and P.S. 56. Theoretically, the rezone will redistribute children across the district and ease crowding. P.S. 8 parent Elena Diaz is skeptical. She’s heard that the rezone will, on the contrary, increase school crowding.
“We have a meeting on May 20 with elected officials and the DOE,” Diaz said. “We want clarification.”
Last November, the DOE released its five-year capital plan for 2010-2014 and promised to build two additional northwest Bronx schools. Faulkner thinks the district needs more help.