Mayor de Blasio instructed the NYC School Construction Authority during a Tuesday, February 21 Bronx Town Hall to look into purchasing two properties in School District 10 to help with the district’s overcrowding.
Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, who was present for the meeting, said the city should try to purchase the property at 3120 Corlear Avenue – which is currently the Tech International Charter School – and 171 West 239th Street – which is currently the Visitation School.
Both schools have been in the news due to reports they would be closing down soon.
The archdiocese announced in February that the Visitation School would be one of six schools closing in the city.
The Church of the Visitation occupied the site until it closed in 2015.
Tech Internationals Charter School’s board voted earlier this year not to renew its charter at the end of the 2016-2017 school year.
Neither the Tech International Charter School nor the New York Archdiocese responded to a request for comment.
“There are some sites right in our neighborhood where we can take seats,” Dinowitz told the mayor during the town hall.
“We had mentioned a few months ago the site of the former Church of the Visitation and now unfortunately the school is closing. It is a huge site which I hope the Department of Education can secure from the Archdiocese,” he added.
De Blasio told those in attendance that he had heard of both sites.
“We like to get our hands on school buildings,” said the mayor. “So the president of the School Construction Authority Lorraine Grillo is going to make it her business to go out and get her hands on those buildings.”
During the meeting multiple community members joined Dinowitz in telling the mayor about the school’s overcrowding and lack of resources.
Dinowitz pointed specifically to P.S 7 – which sits near the Tech International Charter School – and Kingsbridge Heights Neighborhood Improvement Association president Elizabeth Thompson pointed to P.S. 307, P.S. 86, P.S. 340 and the Walton High School Campus.
Grillo said at the meeting the city has in its budget funding for 456 additional seats in city schools.
However, the they need to find places to put those seats.
“What we hope you do is give us help,” said Grillo. “You guys are on the ground and we’d love for you to identify sites and we’d love to explore and investigate anything you give us.”
Dinowitz told the Bronx Times on Tuesday, February 28, “The department of education told us they needed some seats and I’ve given them two sites both of which would be very helpful.”
Dinowitz reiterated that it is unfortunate that the church and school closed but the city can turn the closing into something beneficial.
“Given the fact they did close we would like to see that property used for purposes that are in the best interest of the entire community and building a public school there is in the best interest of the community,” he said.