YONKERS, N.Y. – A projected seat shortage has Yonkers school administrators mulling a plan to rent a former parochial school building.
The Yonkers Board of Education is looking at potentially leasing Christ the King, a shuttered Roman Catholic school at 740 N. Broadway, as it looks for ways to accommodate a growing student population, Superintendent Bernard Pierorazio said last week.
A demographic study conducted by the district shows Yonkers will be short 4,000 seats this year, a number that is expected to climb over 7,000 during the next three years, he said.
“We cannot turn a blind eye to that when we talk about our buildings and the need for additional seats,” he said last week at a Board of Education Budget and Finance Committee meeting.
Already, more than 26,000 students are enrolled in the district for the 2012-2013 school year, nearly 1,000 more than last year, the superintendent said. In the meantime, an average of 25 to 40 students are enrolling each day, he said, creating a serious space crunch for teachers and administrators.
“Our class size has never been larger than it has been recently in my history of almost 40 years in the district,” Pierorazio said.
As a result, administrators have been scrambling to find classroom space, especially at the lower grade levels where class sizes have reached up to 30 students, the superintendent said. A handful of elementary school libraries have even been converted into classrooms.
“We are quickly running out of seats in kindergarten and the first grade,” he said, noting there are similar problems in the second and seventh grades.
Should the district lease Christ the King, it would be used to help relieve congestion at elementary School 16, which sits directly across the street. Still, Pierorazio said having to explore such alternatives isn't necessarily a bad thing.
“I think it’s a good problem,” he said. “I think students coming into our district is positive for our city.”
However, the influx of students may lead to a need for more staffing. Pierorazio said the schools may go back to the city to ask for additional funding to help ease the crunch.
“We have to align everything with in terms of projecting our funding and projecting the needed seats for our children moving forward,” he said.