Members of Community District Education Council 22 (CEC 22) convened virtually via Zoom on Tuesday, June 14th for their final meeting before the official start of summer. The major discussion of the evening pertained to the potential expansion of P.S./I.S. 206, located at 2200 Gravesend Neck Road.
District 22 Superintendent Julia Bove said that the Office of District Planning has determined that the school is currently functioning at 150% capacity, meaning that it is severely overcrowded, and invited the school’s Principal, Ellen Quigley, to elaborate further. Principal Quigley explained that she has had to cut 3K and Pre-K programs due to a lack of space and has had to convert essential spaces like the main office, art room, science lab and dance studio into classrooms to accommodate the 1,500 students currently enrolled. She said that the lunchroom is far too small to serve all of their students, forcing her to set four separate lunch periods, as early as 10 a.m. and as late as 1:45 p.m.. so that despite serving snacks, kids are being fed at all odd hours.
To remediate this problem, Superintendent Bove explained that she was presented with three options, none of which were ideal. She said that the option to rezone would require her and members of the CEC to look at the map of the area and exclude blocks of students who would then be reassigned to other schools in the area, which would not be fair to the community. Likewise, she said that the option to relocate the middle school and serve only elementary level students in the building would not be fair to families who have come to love the continuity and convenience that the current arrangement offers them.
Bove said that the best option she had been offered was the potential expansion of the building, which could be constructed in the extra-large yard in the rear. She said that she was still waiting for the School Construction Authority to provide her with the potential number of seats that would be made available, but that the representative expected it would vastly improve the situation by dramatically reducing overcrowding. While there have been objections raised like increased noise and traffic generated by a construction project, Bove said that she believes the benefit to the community would far outweigh any inconveniences.
“This is not a done deal by any means. It’s just talk; nothing has been done yet,” the superintendent explained, emphasizing her desire to hear more from the community at a number of upcoming meetings and expressing that she welcomes and is open to any ideas families may have to offer. More information about these upcoming meetings will be available soon and can be obtained by contacting the CEC office at (718) 968-6111.