School’s out — for five years.
A new 612-seat school slated to ease classroom overcrowding in Williamsburg has been put off, thanks to a 50-percent cut in the state budget for new school construction.
The elementary school, which had not been assigned a location, is one of several new construction projects that is being squeezed out of the Department of Education’s five-year capital plan, which cut 17,000 proposed seats citywide.
The proposal is a blow to Williamsburg, which eagerly anticipated a new primary school after the School Construction Authority’s then-CEO Sharon Greenberger promised in 2009 that a 738-seat school would be built.
“It is another mistake to not have enough teachers and seats to educate kids the right way,” said Phil DePaolo, who said his children’s middle school, MS 577, is “busting at the seams.”
The cuts come as Williamsburg is growing rapidly after new buildings proliferated throughout the neighborhood over the past six years.
Real-estate brokers point to a trend of families moving into new condos and have added family-friendly amenities to buildings such as The Edge and Warehouse 11.
The budget cuts do not endanger any City Council-funded school improvement projects, such as a new $400,000 gymnasium at Brooklyn Latin School and a new $225,000 playground at PS 196, both on Bushwick Avenue.
A Department of Education spokesman said that all new school proposals — including one inside the converted former Domino Sugar factory — are delayed until funding becomes available.
Schools Chancellor Cathie Black, who will attend a Town Hall-style meeting in Williamsburg on Feb. 28, said that the state cuts would result in “more overcrowding, fewer new buildings and deteriorating conditions at our existing buildings.”
“The state’s decision to cut back on school construction aid means that we will not be able to keep up with the projected demand across the city,” said Black.
District 14 Community Education Council at JHS 71 [266 Rutledge St. at Harrison Avenue in Williamsburg, (718) 302-7624], Feb. 28, 6–8 pm.