Bill Would Make Developers Estimate Schoolkids

by - April 26, 2010 at 4:06 pm -

rosenthalThe city has underestimated how many children would flood into the Upper West Side from new  developments. That’s led to ridiculous waiting lists at local schools, with 125 students this year on a list just to get into PS 87.

State Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal wants to help the city count how many new spots will be needed at local schools by making developers estimate that number at the beginning of the planning process. She introduced a bill last month and it has gained the support of seven other sponsors.

The bill is a kind of jab in the side of the  Department of Education, which hasn’t kept up with the influx of new school-age children into the neighborhood, Rosenthal told us.

“They should have known, because they have most of the tools they would need to project,” Rosenthal said. “They have projected incorrectly in so many areas around the city.  I thought I would try to help the process by having building developers include in their application for developemtn how many children they expect would move into the new building. Clearly the current formula isn’t working.”

At the start of the planning process the developer would have to include “the name of the community school district in which the proposed dwelling or dwelling units will be located, the number of families that will occupy the dwelling or dwelling units, and an estimate of the number of child occupants of compulsory school age,” according to the text of the bill, which is now being considered in the  state Committee on Education.  DNAinfo also reported about the bill, which it says could get to the floor within nine months.

The city did agree to add a few more extra kindergartens in a new school to be housed in the M.S. 44 building on West 77th Street and Columbus Avenue this fall. But the 75 extra seats won’t be enough, Rosenthal said.

“It’s absurd. Every child is entitled to attend their zoned school and the city is not providing enough seats.”

The bill would not affect the biggest development proposed for the neighborhood, however. Riverside Center,  located between 59th and 61st Streets just west of West End Avenue, has already been submitted to the city planning department, and the law would not be retroactive, Davis said. Extell, the developers of Riverside Center, have pledged to build a school into the development, with room for as many as 1,300 kids. (photos courtesy of Rosenthal’s office)

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  1. Patricia Sandler says...

    All children who live in the PS 87 district should have a right to go to that school. Unfortunately, this bill should have been passed years ago. The Harrison has and The Laureate will have large apartments. This means more children of school age. Another phenomena is that many parents have decided to use the public schools. This is a good thing for it will improve things in our district and in all districts. Maybe the City should consider leasing space in some of the new, vacant apartment buildings like the one that is still unfinished on West 78th St, between Broadway and Amsterdam Ave.