CARROLL GARDENS — M.S. 442, a middle school with a successful program for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, may be relocated to Windsor Terrace from Carroll Gardens next year, DNAinfo New York has learned.
After months of speculation and frustration from parents over the uncertainty of the middle school's future site, the Department of Education now plans to submit a proposal to move M.S. 442 Carroll Gardens School for Innovation about two-and-a-half miles away to the former Bishop Ford Catholic High School at 500 19th St.
M.S. 442 — which runs an ASD Nest program for children with autism — currently shares a building with P.S. 32 at 317 Hoyt St. But the planned construction of a 436-seat annex at P.S. 32 to replace classroom trailers is forcing the middle school to move.
The schools are both located in District 15, which is home to several overcrowded schools and includes neighborhoods such as Park Slope, Carroll Gardens, Red Hook and Sunset Park.
The proposal would require a vote before the Panel for Education Policy and if approved, M.S. 442 and its ASD Nest program would move in time for the 2017-2018 school year.
“The Bishop Ford building will provide the necessary facilities and amenities to ensure our students have a supportive environment for them to learn and thrive," Noreen Mills, principal of Carroll Gardens School For Innovation said in a statement to DNAinfo on Monday.
"The new plan is the result of months of constructive conversations between, the DOE and the community, and we’re confident that this space will best serve our students.”
The former Bishop Ford Central Catholic High School is already home to Brooklyn Urban Garden Charter School, a pre-K center with 504 full day seats and a non-public school for students with disabilities, according to the DOE. The move will not impact the existing programs, the city agency said.
Though M.S. 442 parents have known about the school's imminent move since last year, the DOE had yet to provide a comprehensive relocation plan, including an exact location or timeline. Because of the lack of certainty on the school's future location, enrollment at the school suffered as prospective sixth grade families opted to go elsewhere, frustrated parents said.
City education officials had earlier planned to co-locate M.S. 442 with the Cobble Hill School of American Studies, a struggling high school, but parents feared the move would hurt both schools. The relocation was initially slated for September 2016, but the DOE delayed the move to September 2017.
Councilman Brad Lander, who supported M.S. 442 parents in their call for more answers, said in a statement that the Bishop Ford campus would "be a great new home for MS 442."
"This solution will also pave the way for the building of the PS 32 annex to create over 400 new, much-needed elementary school seats in District 15,” he said.