By Della Hasselle
UPPER WEST SIDE — A grant of almost $4 million will be given to six magnet schools in the Upper West Side and Harlem, Sen. Charles Schumer announced in a statement Friday.
The grant, funded by the U.S. Department of Education, is intended to improve curriculum in communications, science, engineering, math and language at the magnet schools, which are "specialized" public schools that accept students based on test scores (or auditions, in the case of La Guardia High School).
"Educational excellence is the key to success for our students — and for New York — and this grant will help us achieve that in these first-rate schools in Manhattan," Schumer said in the statement.
The grant is limited to schools in Community School District 3, which encompasses the Upper West Side and Harlem, and is intended to "reduce minority group isolation" and increase parent participation.
"That's fantastic, that's great," PS 87 parent Ron Kimberly said Friday after hearing the news, as several parents who were gathered to pick up their children at the West 78th Street school echoed his reaction.
Kimberly was excited about what the additional money could do to improve the science program. His first-grade daughter Madeleine has a science teacher who is forced to carry supplies from room to room to teach after losing his classroom due to budget cuts last year, he said.
"The science program is why we came here," Kimberly continued. "Now maybe this grant will help the program get back to where it was."
Other parents remain skeptical.
"I'd like to see what programs they're actually implementing," one parent with two kids at the school said. "You always see these big numbers with grants — $4 million, $10 million — but you'd like to see something tangible."
The schools slated to get funding are PS 87, PS 145, PS 185, PS 191, PS 208 and PS 241.