Parents cry: Expand schools now! Many demand expansions to P.S. 170, 163 & I.S. 259

By Michèle De Meglio

If local parents get their way, District 20 will soon have additional classroom space to alleviate overcrowding. The district’s Community Education Council (CEC) has asked the School Construction Authority (SCA) to build extensions for three cramped schools – P.S. 170 at 7109 6th Avenue, P.S. 163 at 1664 Benson Avenue, and I.S. 259 at 7301 Fort Hamilton Parkway. To deal with overcrowded conditions, all three of these schools currently maintain temporary classroom units, commonly referred to as trailers, in their schoolyards But if the trailers were removed, additions could be constructed in the schoolyards and could handle the overflow of students. “Those would be perfect sites for expansions,” said CEC President Carlo Scissura. While the structures of P.S. 170 and I.S. 259 would remain the same if they receive annexes, P.S. 163 would expand to a K-8 grade school, Scissura explained. The SCA is reviewing the council’s request and will conduct a feasibility study to see if extensions are possible. One school that may also get an addition is P.S. 69, located at 63-02 9th Avenue. Scissura said a deal may be reached to move the school’s kindergarten and pre-K classes to space at St. Rosalia-Regina Pacis Parish, 1230 65th Street. “P.S. 69 is about 200 students overcrowded,” Scissura said. To ease overcrowding, “we met with the SCA and we are going to take over the convent, which is closed,” he said. “It will become an early childhood center.” Classes could be underway at the church as early as next year. District 20’s CEC is also patiently awaiting the opening of a K-8 grade school at the site of the former Magen David Yeshiva, located at Avenue P and Stillwell Avenue. The new school, which is now under construction, will cost $68 million to build. “The foundation is being built. It’s on a fast track which is good,” Scissura said. “It’s scheduled to open for fall of 2009.” City Department of Education (DOE) officials have yet to decide if the school will be a specialized gifted and talented school like I.S. 239 Mark Twain School, 2401 Neptune Avenue.