Volume 21, Number 43 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | March 6 - 12, 2009

Village school might move to B.P.C.

By Julie Shapiro

A building that many viewed as the solution to Battery Park City’s school overcrowding could now become the solution to Greenwich Village’s school overcrowding as well.

The city may move Greenwich Village Middle School from an overcrowded building on Hudson St. into P.S./I.S. 276, the new K-8 school opening in B.P.C. in 2010. P.S./I.S. 276 will have extra space when it opens with only a kindergarten and first grade in 2010, so the building could temporarily house the Greenwich Village Middle School, said Will Havemann, spokesperson for the Dept. of Education. The D.O.E. first mentioned the idea at a District 2 Community Education Council meeting Feb. 25.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver wrote a letter to Schools Chancellor Joel Klein calling the proposal “entirely unacceptable” and saying it “should be clearly and unequivocally withdrawn.”

“The Department of Education needs to find an alternative solution if it wishes to relocate the Greenwich Village Middle School,” Silver wrote. “The Battery Park City school is not an option.”

The Greenwich Village Middle School is growing and needs to move out of the space it shares with P.S. 3 by the fall of 2010. The city’s first choice is to move the school’s 225 students to a permanent new home at the state-owned 75 Morton St., but if that option falls through, the D.O.E. may temporarily move the school to Battery Park City instead, Havemann said. Village parents are pushing for the Morton St. space.

Havemann added that the Greenwich Village Middle School would not interfere with the K-8 already planned for P.S./I.S. 276. The city will phase in each of 276’s grades one year at a time, as this fall’s kindergarteners grow up. Using that model, 276’s eighth grade won’t open until 2017, which means the school will have extra space for years.

Kelly McGuire, principal of Greenwich Village Middle School, said either 75 Morton St. or P.S./I.S. 276 would make a better home for his school than he currently has at P.S. 3.

“I think that option would be okay,” he said of temporarily moving to B.P.C.

Terri Ruyter, principal of P.S./I.S. 276, said she would be happy to share her space with Greenwich Village Middle School.

“I’m not territorial,” she said. “I’m sure there will be no problem…. They’re all our children — we would make it work.”

Ruyter has worked with several teachers at the Greenwich Village school and said she would enjoy the opportunity to learn from them.

Jeff Mihok, a B.P.C. parent, did not think it was a good idea for the schools to share space.

“It’s going to be hard enough for [P.S./I.S. 276] to form its own culture and identity as a new school,” Mihok said. “It really would be a very big challenge.”

Mihok hopes his younger daughter, who will likely enter P.S. 89 this fall, will be able to go to middle school at 276. All students who go to elementary school at P.S. 276 will automatically have a seat at the middle school.

P.S./I.S. 276 and the Spruce Street School, Lower Manhattan’s other new school, will open kindergarten classes this fall in an incubator in Tweed Courthouse. The D.O.E. extended the kindergarten application deadline to March 6 for the new schools and the existing P.S. 234 and P.S. 89.

The D.O.E. will not know until the middle of March whether more students applied to P.S. 234 and P.S. 89 than can fit, Havemann said. If that happens, the D.O.E. will use a lottery to decide who gets to go 234 and 89 and who will go to the new schools instead.






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