On August 7, Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley took DOE officials on a tour of the school, which is located at 67th Drive and 80th Street, to demonstrate the facility’s needs for a new gym, cafeteria and more bathrooms. Education officials were unconvinced.
DOE spokesman Will Havemann said after viewing the school, which has a student body of about 600, the Education Department remains committed to its policy of building additional space only where it is most needed.
"Given that P.S. 87 is not overcrowded, and there is no school-age growth projected for the school's neighborhood, we have no plans to build an addition for P.S. 87,” Havemann said. “Especially given the city's difficult economic circumstances, it is essential that we prioritize school construction for the neighborhoods that need it most.”
Crowley, however, does not appear satisfied with this answer.
The school’s basement doubles as an informal gym and also a cafeteria, with room for just 100 students. The school, which includes kindergarten through eighth grade, has created several lunch breaks to accommodate the student body.
The three-story school also has a shortage of bathrooms; the second floor, which serves about 240 students, only has two toilets.
Crowley brought these issues to the attention of Schools Chancellor Joel Klein in a June 1st letter, and the DOE agreed to at least revisit the facility.
Though the DOE, after viewing the facility, insists no plans are in the works, in an optimistic statement following the tour Crowley continued pressing the DOE to take action at the school.
“I am pleased that the Department of Education came out to P.S. 87 to see for themselves the school’s dire need for additional facilities,” Crowley said.
She said students need adequate classroom and physical education space, especially during their early formative years, between when they begin school and reach high school age.
Crowley called the tour a “step in the right direction,” and promised to continue working “with the DOE to ensure that the needs of the P.S. 87 community are addressed.”
Havemann confirmed that the DOE would work with the P.S. 87 community and Crowley to address space issues.
But he said at this time that any plans for the facility do not include “construction of a costly and unnecessary addition," an unequivocal statement that nevertheless leaves the school’s future undecided.