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After push from Crowley, Middle Village school to expand

By Gabriel Rom

After years of explosive student growth, PS/IS 128 in Middle Village is set to expand.

According to City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley’s (D-Glendale) office, the school is at 123 percent capacity, making it one of the most overcrowded schools in School District 24, the borough’s most overcrowded district. The school, Crowley’s office said, houses first and second graders at an annex building across the street, in a building without a gym or a computer lab—some in a classroom without windows. Students and their families must cross a busy and often unsafe intersection to reach the annex.

“Since opening its new building in 2009, PS/IS 128 could not contain its student population, forcing kids to use the annex across the street. I have continually called attention to the need for new schools and more education space in my district, and PS/IS 128 was not provided the proper amount of seats from its inception,” Crowley said.

The decision, announced last Friday, comes after sustained opposition from Crowley to a School Construction Authority plan to construct a self-standing Universal Pre-Kindergarten center in the school.

Crowley argued that the school was already significantly overburdened and needed to alleviate overcrowding before the plan could move forward.

The SCA relented and conducted a feasibility study on an addition to the school building itself, designated for the local school community.

“We are committed to working together with all stakeholders to reduce overcrowding” said SCA President Lorraine Grillo in a statement released last Friday.

“This new addition will allow us to continue our work to address overcrowding in School District 24. We are proud of our strong partnership with local leaders that has enabled us to provide more school seats for our students.”

In August 2015, Crowley spoke to the TimesLedger after the School Construction Authority released its 2015-2019 capital plan.

“We’re facing a real crisis here. The SCA is not doing their job properly,” Crowley said at the time. “The SCA has funding in their budget for these seats—yet this funding has not been used. Almost every single one of our schools is above capacity. There is no district in the city that they’re failing more than here in District 24.”

Reach reporter Gabriel Rom by e-mail at grom@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4564.

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