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Downtown Brooklyn Area Getting More Than 3,000 New School Seats

By Alexandra Leon | February 9, 2016 5:32pm
 The School Construction Authority has received funding for more than 3,000 new school seats in Downtown Brooklyn.
The School Construction Authority has received funding for more than 3,000 new school seats in Downtown Brooklyn.
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DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — The city agency in charge of building new schools has received funding for more than 3,000 new school seats in the Downtown Brooklyn area.

The School Construction Authority, which is under the Department of Education, received city funding for 1,800 new seats in school District 13 and 1,600 new seats in District 15, as part of its updated five-year capital plan amendment for 2015 to 2019.

With January's update, the agency received $1.4 billion in additional funding for 11,800 new school seats across the city. Approximately $628.7 million will go to projects in Districts 13 and 15 over the next five years, some of which could include building new education facilities.

The new seats will be added over the course of the next five years anywhere in the two districts, according to the DOE. The seats could be added to existing schools or could go into new schools.

A DOE spokeswoman said the agency will be working with local community education councils, families, community members and elected officials to find sites for new schools seats in the two districts, which include Downtown Brooklyn, DUMBO, the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Fort Greene, Carroll Gardens, Gowanus, Cobble Hill and Boerum Hill.

The updated capital plan was released at the end of January, just one month after local leaders urged the SCA to add more school seats to the area in order to avoid what they called a “major school capacity crisis” for Downtown Brooklyn.

In a letter addressed to SCA president Lorraine Grillo, elected officials and local leaders projected Downtown Brooklyn alone would need to serve 1,164 new students by 2017 as it absorbs more than 4,000 newly occupied apartments.

Already, several schools in the area face severe overcrowding.

In January, District 13’s Community Education Council voted to redraw school zoning lines to alleviate overcrowding at P.S. 8 in Brooklyn Heights. 

City officials have already announced sites for some of the projects announced in last year’s capital plan amendment that they say will take care of some of the borough’s overcrowding issues. 

A 436-seat annex will replace the trailers P.S. 32 in Gowanus has been using for more than a decade. The neighborhood is also getting a 180-seat pre-k facility on Ninth Street and Third Avenue.

The SCA has not yet received funding for 4,530 seats it projects will be needed in the two districts in the next five years, 3,706 of which are in District 15, according to the capital plan amendment. It wasn't clear how much additional funding would be needed for those seats.