Report: Manhattan schools overcrowded

April 12, 2010 3:21:42 PM PDT
A new and alarming report out Monday night by the Manhattan borough president claims there is a crisis brewing in New York City public schools. More than 40% of elementary and middle schools are overcrowded, and it's only getting worse.

There was a rally held in Manhattan on Monday about the severe overcrowding.

"People are staying in the city. They're not moving to the suburbs. They want to keep their kids in public school. They need schools for them," explained Varda Steinhardt, a parent.

Schools like P.S. 199 have become surrounded by high rise apartment buildings, leaving the neighborhood schools bursting at the seams.

"There is no way any of those families moving into those buildings will have a space in our school," said P.S. 199 PTA President, Michelle Ciulla-Lipkin.

Monday's rally was called to publicize a report about Manhattan school overcrowding, done by the office of Manhattan Borough President, Scott Stringer.

Stringer's office points to examples like P.S. 163, where there are classroom trailers out back, originally meant to be just temporary when they were installed years ago.

"We found that 86 out of the 199 elementary and middle schools in Manhattan, are truly confronting significant problems related to school space," said Stringer.

Trailers are, of course, a symbol of school overcrowding. The Borough President says overcrowding in Manhattan is mainly due to poor planning.

"If we keep up this way, we're going to go back to a different time, in the 1970's, when parents packed up, took their kids and moved to somewhere else, taking their tax dollars with them," Stringer said.

The borough president says he has recommendations on overcrowding he will submit to the Department of Education.