Deal avoids eviction for P.S. 24 students, source says


Update 4:17 p.m.


School officials have settled on a strategy for accommodating the over-size student body at the Spuyten Duyvil School (P.S. 24), according to the head of Disctrict 10’s Community Education Council. 

While the school is losing access to five off-site classrooms next fall, Marvin Shelton said today that P.S. 24 will build to classrooms in an on-site cafeteria and convert three adjacent areas into classrooms. He related the information in a phone interview after attending a Wednesday morning meeting including officials from the Department of Education’s Office of Space Planning. 

He noted that P.S. 24 likely will lose a small planetarium currently occupying a corner of the cafeteria. 

In moving to keep all the students within P.S. 24, city opted against another option on the table — co-locating at least two classrooms at the neighboring David A. Stein Riverdale/Kingsbridge Academy (M.S./H.S. 141, RKA).

Parents and administrators from RKA opposed that move, saying the school will likely be overcrowded next year without losing classrooms.

To accommodate the loss of the annex's five classrooms, P.S. 24 will have a maximum of seven kindergarten classes next year, according to Mr. Shelton. The school currently has eight. 

Mr. Shelton also noted that co-location with RKA is not off the table for the 2017-2018 school year. 

Original story from 2:45 p.m.

Parents at the Spuyten Duyvil School (P.S. 24) can breathe at least a small sigh of relief. After months of limbo following news that the public school system failed to renew a lease for off-site classrooms, officials and a representative for the annex reached a deal today, according to a source.

Jeffrey Moerdler, the president of the Whitehall co-op where classroom space had been rented for fifth-grade students, said today that the students will be allowed to stay for the rest of the school year. About 140 students currently use the annex.

“It gives certainty to both the Whitehall co-op in knowing when the space will be vacated and to the new tenant to know when they begin renovations and for the school in allowing them to carry out the school year,” he said in a phone interview.

In the fall, parents were shocked to learn that the School Construction Authority (SCA) had failed to renew its lease for the Whitehall annex. At a P.S. 24 Parents’ Association meeting in October, Mr. Moerdler said that the board had started an eviction action with the Bronx Supreme Court.

In a settlement to avoid eviction, the School Construction Authority agreed to pay an unspecified sum to cover costs through Friday, July 15 as well as payments owed since the lease ended last summer, according to Mr. Moerdler. He declined to state the rate. In October, he said the city should pay $30 per square foot per month, the rate that Bright Horizons day care agreed to for a deal starting next fall.

“It isn't perfect, but everybody agreed to it and is satisfied," Mr. Moerdler said of the deal.

P.S. 24, P.S. 24 annex, Whitehall annex, Whitehall, Jeffrey Moerdler, School Construction Authority, Isabel Angell
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