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Elected Officials Angry Over City’s Plan To Sell Schools To Developers

P.S. 191 (credit: schools.nyc.gov)

P.S. 191 (credit: schools.nyc.gov)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The city reportedly has plans to knock down two Upper West Side elementary schools to allow high-rise apartment buildings to go up in their place.

The Department of Education’s Educational Construction Fund listed the sites, on 61st Street and 70th Street, in Crain’s New York last fall, calling for interested developers to come forward.

City Councilwoman Gale Brewer is up in arms over selling P.S. 191 and 199 to developers, WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb reported. Brewer said millions of dollars that have been plowed into improvements into those schools will go down the drain.

“Do we want more tall towers in our neighborhood? We have Riverside South, we have three tall towers, some of which are 60 stories going up on Amsterdam Ave. and 69th Street and I could go on and on about the development on the West Side,” Brewer told Lamb.

But Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott noted that any new construction would require the developers to build cutting-edge schools for free on the lower floors of whatever structure they put up.

“We have several projects out there like that. There’s a project up in the 90s East Side where there’s a building with condominiums and below that is a great school at no cost to the taxpayers,” Walcott told reporters including Lamb on Monday.

Walcott added he would never sacrifice a school.

Brewer said taller towers mean more families with kids and bigger schools. Though there will be hearings, Brewer added that knocking down schools “to build more towers is being foisted upon us.”

Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer in a letter to the Department of Education said many parents are concerned what the sale of the schools would mean for their kids.

Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal and Brewer were among community leaders who signed the letter.

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