State cuts kill hundreds of school seats in Bay Ridge and Dyker

State cuts kill hundreds of school seats in Bay Ridge and Dyker

The city has elminated nearly 2,000 new classroom seats across Dyker Heights and Bay Ridge, thanks to a 50-percent cut in school construction funds coming from Albany.

Just two months after the School Construction Authority told southwestern Brooklyn parents and educators of the 5,317 new school seats for the area, the same officials now say that 1,570 seats slated for the Dyker Heights area and 401 seats for Bay Ridge no longer exist.

Instead, the neighborhoods will get 1,075 new seats.

Education officials blamed Gov. Cuomo’s cut in school construction aid to the city.

“[The cut] will mean more overcrowding, fewer new buildings and deteriorating conditions at our existing buildings,” Schools Chancellor Cathie Black said in a statement.

Parent leaders weren’t too outraged because the seats were on a school construction agenda that would not have kicked in for years.

“We didn’t have sites for [the seats] anyway,” said Laurie Windsor, the president of neighborhood’s Community Education Council, a volunteer panel made up mostly of parents. “They can always add them back in.”

Projects that are already under way — including the 708-seat school at Ovington and Fourth avenues; a 367-seat school at 62nd Street and Fort Hamilton Parkway; an extension to PS 160 at Fort Hamilton Parkway and 51st Street; and a 475-seat school at Fourth Avenue and 89th Street — will be unaffected, for now.

Dyker Heights and Bay Ridge isn’t the only neighborhood affected by the state cuts. Last week, Williamsburg parents learned that a 612-seat school that was already in the planning stage had been slashed.

And PS 310 is rising at the former church site at Fort Hamilton Parkway and 62nd Street.
Photo by Bob Hacken