Parents urge DOE to create middle school at P.S. 108 in Morris Park

P.S. 108 off Pelham Parkway. (File)
Photo courtesy of Sonia Marini

For years parents have been fighting for a middle school at P.S 108.

With the DOE adding 600 new seats this summer, parents wonder if their wishes are finally coming true.

P.S. 108 Philip J. Abinanti Elementary School at 1166 Neill Ave. in Morris Park, is the only one in the area that serves kindergarten through fifth grade.

“This project is currently in the design phase and is part of our commitment to building and maintaining high-quality public schools for students throughout the city,” said Isabelle Boundy, assistant press secretary at the NYC Department of Education. “We’re committed to working with the CEC and school community to best address the needs of the district, and plan to begin discussions around planning for the use of the 600-seat addition in the coming months.”

Four moms, Tara McCrossan, Sonia Marini, Vivian and Vinnie-Marie Leone spoke with the Bronx Times about the need for a middle school. The ladies said children need consistency in education and staying in one building can benefit them.

Parents want a middle school at PS 108. Photo courtesy of Sonia Marini

The women stressed that many families over the years have left the school in order to go to one that is k-8. Furthermore, the two nearby middle schools cannot accommodate all the children in the area. Van Nest Academy at 900 Van Nest Ave., has a lottery and most children do not get accepted into if they wait until they graduate fifth grade and P.S. 83 at 950 Rhinelander Ave., is overcrowded.

Also, M.S. 144 at 2545 Gunther Ave., is their zoned school, but children need to cross dangerous Pelham Parkway to get to it. Ultimately, this leaves parents with very little options for a middle school

“We want to emphasize that as P.S. 108, parents and members of this community we understand that construction is on PAUSE,” Marini said. “The current pandemic is the most important issue at this time, but we want our voices to continue to be heard as we are looking towards the future.”

The moms have gotten 900 signatures on a petition and have the support of Community Board 11, Councilman Mark Gjonaj and Assemblywoman Nathalia Fernandez.

Trailers at PS 108 Photo courtesy of Sonia Marini

While the DOE has not given them a definitive answer on what’s going in the expansion, they fear the worst. They have asked the principal and the Community Education Council, but were simply told to advocate.

“If you’re going to build an annex, give it to the fifth graders at the school who need it,” Marini stressed. “We just need our voices heard. It’s hard to get a real answer.

Leone said they really just want what’s best for their children.

“The building should really accommodate the middle school that the community needs,” she exclaimed.

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