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Parents Expected to Grill Schools Chancellor on Overcrowding at Town Hall

By Leslie Albrecht | November 23, 2015 1:45pm
 Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña will host a town hall meeting for parents in Brooklyn's District 15 on Tuesday, Nov. 24.
Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña will host a town hall meeting for parents in Brooklyn's District 15 on Tuesday, Nov. 24.
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SUNSET PARK — Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña on Tuesday will host a town hall meeting for District 15 families and parents are primed to pepper her with questions, a local education leader said.

Parents will likely grill Fariña on overcrowding, high-stakes testing and diversity, said District 15 Community Education Council president Naila Rosario.

"I think the biggest issue is going to be overcrowding," Rosario said. "The main thing is the need for a physical building in Sunset Park."

Families are growing increasingly frustrated with crowding in Sunset Park schools, Rosario said. The Department of Education has set aside money to build new schools in Sunset Park for the past decade, but the agency hasn't been able to find space for the new schools.

Though schools such as P.S. 172 perform extremely well on standardized tests, some elmentary schools in the neighborhood are so crowded that they bus students to South Slope.

At Tuesday night's town hall meeting, parents hope to hear more details about the possibility of opening a new school inside a hotel on 39th Street and Fifth Avenue that was recently shut down after the FBI busted a prostitution ring there, Rosario said.

Families will also want to hear about high-stakes testing, and how the DOE plans to tackle school segregation, Rosario said.

The DOE announced recently that seven schools, including District 15's P.S. 372 (also called The Children's School) will be allowed to set admissions policies to attract more low-income students, kids who are learning English, or children who are in the child welfare system.

Rosario said the Disrict 15 CEC is opposed to diversity policies that apply to only one school, because they create unintended consequences at nearby schools.

“It’s great that it’s going to happen at one school, but we really need a districtwide plan,” Rosario said.

District 15 includes parts of Sunset Park, Kensington, Park Slope, Carroll Gardens, and Red Hook.

The town hall with Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña will be held Tuesday, Nov. 24 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at P.S. 516, 4222 Fourth Ave. (between 42nd and 43rd streets). Local elected officials including City Councilman Carlos Menchaca, Assemblyman Felix Ortiz and State Sen. Jesse Hamilton are expected to attend and answer questions from the public from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m.