Van Cortlandt Park has $1 million to build a skate park and John F. Kennedy High School will receive $500,000 for a new library as part of the $68.5 billion city budget passed by the City Council on June 28.
Councilman Oliver Koppell received more than $400,000 in member item funds, which he doled out to local organizations, and he directed more than $5 million in capital funds for schools and parks in his district.
Mr. Koppell said he was pleased with this year’s budget because he received approximately $20,000 more than usual in member items, sometimes referred to as “pork.” He was especially pleased with the inclusion of money for a skate park in Vannie.
“I think I did well,” he said. “Overall I’m satisfied.”
The budget agreement includes funding for about 1,000 new teachers, according to Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s calculations. Whether this expands staff rosters at local schools remains to be seen.
Mr. Koppell used his discretionary funds to boost several Riverdale and Kingsbridge schools’ budgets while directing $1,388,000 to capital projects.
The John F. Kennedy Campus received his largest allocation — $550,000 — which will be pooled with money from the Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and money raised by the campuses’ eight schools to finance a new library and media center.
John F. Kennedy High School Principal Lisa Luft said Mr. Koppell has pledged to give the campus about $550,000 for three years. She said construction could begin as soon as next spring.
The collaboration between eight administrations will “transform the campus” into a more integrated community, according to Ms. Luft.
“It’s going to be open walls, so it can be used for multiple purposes. And it will be a real media center with an up-to-date library to meet the needs of all schools,” she said. “Multiple schools can use it together, so it will help students teach each other and learn together.”