It’s been more than a year and a half since Community Board 2 told the Mayor that a new school in Downtown Brooklyn was their top funding priority. Last year the Mayor’s office agreed, but what has the DOE done in response? Nothing! There is no funding or plan for a school in Downtown Brooklyn and now development in the area has pushed the overcrowding situation at P.S. 8 in Brooklyn Heights to a breaking point.
So again we find ourselves working to build-up momentum for the cause…speaking at a City Council hearing to address the citywide school overcrowding problem and meeting with the Community Board 2 Youth and Education meeting about the needs of Downtown Brooklyn. The good news is that for a second time the CB2 issued a formal response to the Mayor to make a new school in Downtown Brooklyn a top priority (excerpt below):
Department of Education: The need for additional elementary schools in the western portion of Community District 2 has increased since last year, when CB2 made construction of a new Downtown Brooklyn elementary school its highest capital budget priority … PS 8, the Robert Fulton School, operated at 44 percent above Blue Book targeted capacity in the 2013-2014 school year.
Hundreds of additional dwelling units are already approved, impacting not just PS 8 but the Downtown Brooklyn residential community, which does not have a neighborhood school… CB2 urges the administration, local elected officials, the DOE and other stakeholders to swiftly identify a site for a Downtown Brooklyn primary school, develop short-, medium- and long-term solutions to overcrowding at PS 8, and allocate the necessary funds to implement these goals.
Will the DOE actually do something about it this time around? We hope so…but aren’t optimistic. What we really need is a larger coaltion to press the issue. It’s been nearly a year and a half since City Council rep Steve Levin organized the first meeting of stakeholders and officials to form a Downtown Brooklyn School Taskforce. Nothing has happened since but recently Levin’s office has been talking about restarting the task force to address the overcrowding issues that are coming to DoBro and already here at P.S. 8. If we don’t get things jumpstarted now, all of our children will suffer the detrimental effects of overcrowding on their education. Let’s make this happen, let’s pressure the DOE act responsibly and build new schools!