MANHATTAN — Upper East Side parents can exhale a little bit.
When the Department of Education signed a lease a few years back for the Our Lady of Good Counsel building, formerly housing a Catholic school, it was a short-term agreement.
But now, the building at 323 E. 91st Street will be used as a public elementary school, for the new P.S. 527, for the next 15 years. The current lease was set to expire in August.
On Friday, Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott joined Rep. Carolyn Maloney and State Assemblyman Dan Quart— whose son, Sam will be entering kindergarten at P.S. 527 — at the building to celebrate the agreement with the Catholic Archdiocese of New York.
The DOE took over the building in 2009, moving in the newly-created P.S. 151, which was needed to alleviate the neighborhood’s elementary school overcrowding.
When P.S. 151 — the Yorkville Community School — moved out of the Our Lady of Good Counsel building into its permanent home this year in the former Richard Green High School, an elementary school from Chelsea — P.S. 51 — moved in temporarily to escape construction at its home.
Now, P.S. 527 is set to move into the former parochial school in the fall. Daniel McCormick, the assistant principal at TAG Young Scholars, a citywide talented and gifted school in East Harlem, will be the founding principal, creating a school focused on “global studies,” offering a foreign language.
The Department of Education rezoned the area this year to account for the new school, carving out of blocks mainly from P.S. 151, now on East 88th Street. Some blocks were taken from P.S. 290, which still had a waitlist when letters were sent out to parents in March.
"After years of overcrowding on the East Side, another new school will provide much-needed relief," Maloney said in a statement.
The Upper East Side’s need for elementary schools, however, is still growing.
"After years of overcrowding on the East Side, another new school will provide much-needed relief," Quart said.
The DOE’s Elizabeth Rose said earlier this year that there were 724 kindergarteners enrolled in neighborhood schools in 2011. That number is expected to grow to nearly 850 in the next five years, perhaps as soon as 2014, she said.
"Some time between 2014 and 2016, we will need more kindergarten seats," Rose said.