December 24, 2008: 2008, Issue 52
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Today’s news:

Two schools rise on schedule

After residents vigorously fought against plans for a high school at the location of a former perfume factory on Bronxdale and Van Nest avenues, a new building that will house two different K-8 schools – one a charter school and the other a district public school – is rising at the location.

Plans for the school were released by the Department of Education for the site of the former factory with a modern gym and large library that will include attractive new educational space.

Two schools, a public K-8 school and the Carl C. Ichan Charter School Bronx North, will be housed in the building.

“We have been working on this project for awhile and get consulted about it frequently,” said Councilman Jimmy Vacca. “The Morris Park community was very much against it when they were going to make it into a high school. We worked with the DOE to address their concerns.”

Vacca said that the School Construction Authority and the DOE originally attempted to renovate the existing building, but that it proved not to be cost effective.

Currently, the structural work for the building is being put into place, and much of the building’s foundation appears to be in place.

“The project is progressing according to schedule,” said Community Board 11 district manager John Fratta.

While many in local government have heard the concerns of the community regarding putting two more schools in a neighborhood already house two public and three private schools, the Morris Park Community Association is maintaining the stance of most of its memebers.

Many MPCA members feel that the most of the students in the schools will be bussed into the neighborhood, and would likely be better served if more neighborhood schools were constructed near Parkchester and West Farms.

“I am opposed to the building of both schools because they are busing children into the community and overcrowding schools now,” D’Angleo stated. “There are a ton of schools in our neighborhood. The children outside of the community don’t really have a vested interest in the community, so there are more disturbances after school at P.S. 83 and elsewhere among students who come from other areas.”

D’Angleo said that Morris Park can handle the schools in already has, which include P.S. 83, P.S. 108, Our Savior Lutheran, St. Clare’s, and St. Frances Xavier. D’Angelo was concerned about Morris Park students having to be bused to schools like M.S. 144 rather than staying close to home. D’Angleo is also concerned about possible soil contamination at the site, which abuts residential property in Morris Park.

“Busing is really no longer needed, as every Bronx neighborhood and school is now multi-ethnic,” D’Angelo said. “The kids near E. 180th Street need a school desperately, and most of the parents like to see their kids stay close to home. The new schools are on a very busy street, and whoever studied the project didn’t do a good job.”

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