UPPER WEST SIDE — Top officials at the Department of Education have shown support for a proposal to move P.S. 191 into the new school building planned for the Riverside Center residential development, local education leaders said.
The plan would move P.S. 191 from its existing West 61st Street building a block east to the site of the new school building at 21 West End Ave., which is set to open in September 2018.
The new school, which the DOE has named P.S. 342, was included in the luxury housing development as a result of negotiations with the developer years ago.
Community Education Council 3 members and the School Leadership Team at P.S. 191 believe moving the K-8 school into a new building will help it shed the negative reputation it garnered after the state labeled it "persistently dangerous" last year.
At a recent meeting with CEC members, elected officials, and parents and leaders from P.S. 191, DOE Deputy Chancellor Elizabeth Rose said the department is considering the plan, said CEC member Noah Gotbaum, who was present at the meeting.
"[P.S.] 191 is very much in favor of moving into the new building, and the DOE is supportive of it," he said.
DOE Superintendent Ilene Altschul, who was also at the meeting, told the council that the department is "very interested" in the plan.
A DOE spokeswoman confirmed the idea was on the table and that officials are working with families, community members and elected officials to review the suggestion and develop a plan for the new building.
Along with the benefit of brand new, state-of-the art classrooms and play spaces, the new Riverside School building — which would accommodate the entire existing population of P.S. 191 — will feature a 2,500-square-foot library.
CEC members are working to see if the School Construction Authority can speed up the timeline for the school building's opening to 2017. Given overcrowding in the southern part of the district and a luxury building boom, there is an urgent need for more school seats, they said.