PS 145, located on the Upper West Side, is struggling with overcrowded classrooms as a surge of migrant students exacerbates space constraints, resulting in the termination of several cherished programs, according to distraught parents.
The school, originally designed for fewer students, now accommodates 535 pupils, including recent arrivals from Ukraine, Russia, and Latin America.
In an effort to create more classrooms, facilities once dedicated to music, video production, and a STEAM lab were converted, leaving purchased resources unused and in storage. The library has been divided into smaller sections to cater to children with special needs, which has disrupted the typical after-school routine for many students.
Parents expressed their frustration over New York City Public Schools’ apparent disregard for their continuous requests for additional space, even after local politicians proposed a potential solution involving the leasing of available space from a neighboring synagogue community center.
This plea appears to have been met with silence, as city officials have not responded or initiated any corrective measures.
Despite welcoming a massive influx of 16,000 migrant students citywide, starkly contrasting the 1,700 from the previous academic year, parents argue the city has neglected to address the space shortage issue.
The PS 145 parents are coming from a largely liberal neighborhood that predominantly supported Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election and seem to be supportive of migrants.
Parents are also frustrated with the NYC Public Schools’ administration blaming the school for the issue due to its increased enrollment before the migrant influx, largely from implementing two popular programs: universal 3-K and Russian dual-language.
A spokesperson for City Hall commented that while they have been engaged with the school, an inspection of the proposed additional space in the synagogue revealed it didn’t meet guidelines for full-sized classrooms.
The city has invested over $25 million in schools grappling with expanding enrollments and pledges further “adjustments.” However, parents’ tolerance appears to be dwindling, particularly after the city attempted to accommodate newly-arrived migrant families in school gyms, a decision that was quickly reversed following intense protests.