City grabs land for new school on Ridge–Sunset border

Brooklyn Paper
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The city is one step closer to adding 976 desks to Brooklyn’s most overcrowded school district.

The School Construction Authority used eminent domain to acquire four lots near Third Avenue and 59th Street, where it plans to build a $4-million elementary school. Some may balk at the idea of forcibly taking land for the public good, but this project is really necessary, according to one neighborhood education advocate.

“For most of New York’s history, eminent domain is kind of a dirty word, but it has potential if it’s used smartly, and it sounds like this can do some good. We have a really bad overcrowding issue in the area, so anything that can be done to alleviate that is welcome,” said Sunset Park resident Julio Pena, the vice-chairman Community Board 7’s education committee.

Brooklyn Supreme Court judge Wayne Saitta ruled on Sept. 29 that the authority can take ownership of the four lots — which are in foreclosure. Courts will determine how much to compensate the landowner at a future hearing, Saitta said.

The forthcoming PS 746 will help ease overcrowding in School District 20, which encompasses Sunset Park, Borough Park, and Bay Ridge.

District classrooms were the city’s most jam-packed last year, according to an Independent Budget Office study, and the nearly 1,000 seats the city is promising are a far cry from the more-than 7,000 district seats needed just to break even.

The city has set aside money to build 4,541 seats in the area by 2024, but it needs to find space to do so, according to information from the School Construction Authority.

Reach reporter Caroline Spivack at or by calling (718) 260–2517. Follow her on Twitter @carolinespivack.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Mustafa Khant from Atlantic Ave says:
I can see the flowers and candles and teddy bears now as those kids try to cross third ave under the Gowanus.
Sept. 30, 2016, 8:08 am
freddy from slope says:
$4,000,000 for 1000 seats.
price seems far to inexpensive
Sept. 30, 2016, 9:48 am
John from Bay Ridge says:
Hundreds of millions to build new public schools. Yet much of this overcrowding in District 20 could be eliminated if each child were given a voucher worth up to $5000 for use at accredited private schools (we have a huge variety of high quality private and parochial schools to chose from in District 20). This would save enormous sums immediately, and provide parents with the element of choice. It is a testament to the stranglehold that the teacher's union has on City politics that parents don't have this choice. Children are held hostage in overcrowded schools, and tax payers are extorted, all to preserve the power of the teacher's union and the public education monopoly.
Sept. 30, 2016, 9:57 am
Ms. Me from Bay Ridge says:
A] Does this take the plan to demolish the old 68th precinct off the table? I hope so. B] I think there are actually quite a few people crossing 3rd Avenue in that area in the morning -- going to jobs at BAT. LMC also has an orthopedic rehab center on 60th between 2nd and 3rd, believe it or not. They'll have to double or triple the standard allotment of crossing guards there.
Sept. 30, 2016, 9:57 am
Ms.Me from Bay Ridge says:
Years ago -- 40/50 kids in a class and one teacher. Now, 20 kids, a teacher and an assistant and it's "overcrowded." It's a racket.
Sept. 30, 2016, 10:08 am
Ms.Me from Bay Ridge says:
Years ago I used to suck off hobos on that lot, oh the memories. Now I do it behind a Popeye's next to the dumpsters.
Sept. 30, 2016, 12:51 pm
Tyler from pps says:
Oh, John... hush your face. NYC property taxes are really relatively quite low. There is nothing stopping you from sending your children to any of these other schools -- The choice is yours! But the city is not and should not subsidize your kid's private school education.

Your $5k figure is interesting. Basically, it's high enough that 'comfortable' families would see it as a great benefit... but low enough that you can make sure undesirables can't cover the gap, and John Jr. doesn't have to slum it.
Sept. 30, 2016, 3 pm
John from Bay Ridge says:
Ty, you made lots of assumptions, however inaccurate. By the way, City residents pay income tax as well (I do; maybe you don't). And kids in overcrowded schools should be trapped in them for what good reason? The wealthy already send their children to private schools at a high percentage rate. Personally I favor a means tested voucher system. Up to $10,000 per child for children below the poverty level, and up to $5,000 per child for families earning up to $150,000 per year. Why should the poor be trapped in overcrowded schools?
Sept. 30, 2016, 3:19 pm
Mustafa Khant from Atlantic Ave says:
"And kids in overcrowded schools should be trapped in them for what good reason?"

Because the teachers union wants the power - the kids are fodder.
Sept. 30, 2016, 5:22 pm
Tyler from pps says:
Let's see.... Bay Ridge Prep is between $17,000 and $27,000 per year, depending on the grade. Adelphi Academy of Brooklyn is between $18,000 and $31,000 per year, depending on the grade. Holy Angels Catholic Academy (K-8) is relatively cheap at $4800 per year.

Anyway, what you're describing is a de-funding of the education budget to give 'comfortable' families some cash. I like how you sell the lie though. "Oh, it'll be means tested and those under the poverty line will get double! Why do you want to trap poor kids in crowded schools?!" (Of course, then, there's the reality... )
Sept. 30, 2016, 5:42 pm
Stunned from Bay Ridge says:
This is the plan to reduce overcrowding? Well, it unfortunately will. Building a school where children will have to cross eight lanes of traffic? Why not just put it on the Belt?
Sept. 30, 2016, 6:57 pm
John from Bay Ridge says:
Ty, no doubt you are a public school teacher.

The rich don't need any assistance paying for Poly Prep or Bay Ridge Prep. They already send their kids there. But poor and working class families don't have a choice. Your comment about not "defunding" the public school system is very revealing. The teachers union sees each child as a number. Specifically the annual funding we taxpayers pay for each student. And the teachers union wants to keep every cent if that funding in the public school system. Whether or not those children are actually educated. Quite a scam.
Sept. 30, 2016, 11:20 pm
Sean F from Bensonhurst says:
There is already a 1,645 seat elementary school just across the street from this location. Wouldn't it be more economical to expand the existing location than build a new one, duplicating amenities?
Oct. 3, 2016, 1:31 pm
Ms.Me from Bay Ridge says:
It was already expanded once, reducing the schoolyard. Further expansion would eliminate it.
Oct. 3, 2016, 5:13 pm

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