The city is considering opening a temporary incubator school in September for Downtown students in Tweed Courthouse, the Dept. of Educations headquarters.
Downtowners may be sent to chancellors office for school space
The city may boot the Ross Global Academy from Tweed Courthouse to use the space for much-needed elementary seats next fall.
Its something were considering, but we havent made any final determination yet, said Will Havemann, spokesperson for the Department of Education, on Wednesday.
The D.O.E. is expected to present Tweed, a building that also houses the Department of Educations headquarters, as a potential overcrowding solution at a meeting led by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver Thursday afternoon.
The six classrooms on Tweeds first floor would become an incubator for local kindergarteners, who would transfer to Lower Manhattans two new schools when they open in 2010 or 2011. The incubator on Chambers St. would relieve the pressure next fall at P.S. 89 in Battery Park City and P.S. 234 in Tribeca, which have seen their kindergarten enrollments skyrocket.
Silver told Downtown Express Wednesday that he hopes to make further progress on the Tweed incubator at his Overcrowding Taskforce meeting.
Its the fastest option, Silver said of the Tweed space, comparing it to other potential incubator sites. It requires the least construction.
Some parents began hearing last week about the possibility of getting the Tweed space, and while the parents did not want to comment until it was definite, several sounded excited about it while another said she wanted more information.
The D.O.E. will definitely open an incubator for one or both of the new schools next fall, and the only question is where that incubator will be, said Marge Feinberg, another D.O.E. spokesperson. The D.O.E. has not decided which parts of Lower Manhattan would send children to the incubator rather than P.S. 89 or P.S. 234.
The idea of using space at Tweed initially came up last spring, and Eric Greenleaf, a P.S. 234 parent, said then that it was a good option because it is already being used as a school.
Its not going to be enough, but it is good start, Greenleaf said in May.
But the D.O.E. nixed the proposal shortly thereafter, saying Ross would not move out of Tweed. Now, the option is back on the table as the D.O.E. searches for a solution for next fall.
Philanthropist Courtney Ross founded the Ross Global Academy, a charter school, in 2006. The school initially had to scramble to find space, after NEST, a school on the Lower East Side, objected to Ross sharing its building. Instead, Ross opened at Tweed.
Tweed now holds Rosss K-3 program, while the middle school is up on E. 25th St. Ross was originally only supposed to stay at Tweed for two years and it appears likely that Ross is outgrowing the space.
The principal of Ross did not return calls for comment.
Anna Switzer, a longtime principal of P.S. 234 who later ran a school in Tweed, said the space would not be a very large incubator. But despite its size, she said, It would be a great place.