To the Editor:
There have been several recent newspaper articles written about public elementary school overcrowding and related issues in the Lincoln Square and Upper West Side neighborhoods, with a focus on the preference of which schools parents want their children to attend. Throughout all of the coverage, very little has referred to the underlying lack of public planning related to this overcrowding.
In the 1990s, city and local officials did not heed neighborhood concerns and allowed the building of the large-scale apartment developments on the Penn Yards and on the lower Amsterdam and West End Avenue area, without planning new public schools. In the past two decades, pre-schools, child-enrichment programs and private schools have been started in the area, but the recognition on the impact and need to build public schools has been belated.
Publically chastising parents about their school choice option misses the mark, by not also discussing the lack of planning by public officials charged with assuring adequacy of public schools and other public services.
With regard to the article the week of November 12-18, “The Megatower On Amsterdam Avenue” and concerns about overcrowding of the neighborhood, let’s not overlook the continued pressure on the public schools in the neighborhood, specifically PS 199.
As numerous new housing developments in Manhattan and other areas in New York City are underway, this is a cautionary tale about which city and public education planners should take note or it may be too late to avoid this on a much larger scale. It is already too late for the Lincoln Square and Upper West Side neighborhoods.