By Bill Parry
More than a hundred parents of students at PS 143 in Corona joined state Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) to call on authorities to do something about the chronic overcrowding at the school. Originally designed to accommodate 900 students, the elementary school has nearly double that enrollment with closed to 1,800 students.
Peralta is proposing the building of a permanent addition to the school that would replace a mini building and six temporary classroom units.
“No child should be educated in a trailer,” he said. “Especially in 21st century New York City, to have kids learning in trailers is just unthinkable and it must stop.”
The overcrowding at the school at 34-74 113th St. is so acute some students are forced to have lunch as early as 9:50 a.m. and a large number of students have been moved to an annex at 98th Street and 38th Avenue.
Peralta proposed his plan for an annex to the Department of Education two years ago and was told that something had to be done to alleviate the overcrowding but that the land where the building would go belongs to the Parks and Recreation Department. Last April, Peralta was informed that Parks and the School Construction Authority would work together to address the open space requirement.
“As of today, there has been no response to the proposal and obviously no action has been taken,” Peralta said. “I understand there’s the need for a recreational area, but PS 143 is atypical of schools in my community in that there is a good deal of open recreational space on its grounds and immediately nearby.”
Parents are concerned that their children are learning in classrooms with more than 30 students. “We need this annex,” PTA President Angelica Salgado said. “Our kids deserve better. If this new building becomes a reality, I am sure the academic achievements of our kids will improve because there would be less students in the classroom.”
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at ps or by phone at (718) 260–4538.