April 23, 2012 Staff Report
Parents, teachers and politicians held a press conference at P.S.11 on Friday calling on the School Construction Authority to build an annex to ease school overcrowding.
P.S.11, a Woodside elementary primary school located at 54-25 Skillman Ave., is projected to surpass 117 percent capacity in the 2012-2013 school year.
In the past 20 years, city officials have been combating P.S.11’s overcrowding problem by adding transportable classroom units (TCUs) behind the school.
“After two decades of struggling with temporary units and the increased demand for schools seats, we need a permanent solution at P.S.11 to develop the proper learning environment for our children,” said councilman Jimmy Van Bramer.
Many of the TCUs at P.S.11 are in need of repair. They were installed about 15 years ago and have become hazardous, according PS 11 Principal Anna Efkarpides.
Efkarpides said recently that in one TSU, ceiling tiles had fallen on children. In another TSU, she said, one staff member fell through the floor.
The School Construction Authority announced earlier this year that it is building a 440-seat elementary school near PS11 to help combat Woodside’s overcrowding problem. The school, which will be located on 39th Ave (between 57th and 58th street), is scheduled to open in the fall of 2015.
At the time of the announcement, Van Bramer said he would push the School Construction Authority to expand P.S.11 as well—given the growing need for seats.
Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan said that there are too many TCUs in Queens schools. “I urge the Department of Education to start planning for permanent structures to be used for overcrowding in Queens schools and by doing so reduce the amount of TCUs that are used.”
Meanwhile, Assemblywoman Marge Markey said: “Too many years have gone by since ‘temporary’ portable classrooms were installed to relieve overcrowding at P.S.11…it is long past time to build a permanent annex to bring our children inside.”
And all those recently closed Catholic schools stand empty.