New York Post Councilman wants closing churches converted to schools by Rich Calder
By Rich Calder
March 19, 2016 | 12:46am
Our Lady of Peace on the Upper East Side.Photo: Robert MillerA Manhattan legislator says the possible downsizing of Catholic churches in the Big Apple could provide desperately needed space to the public school system.
City Councilman Ben Kallos fired off a letter last week to Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña and School Construction Authority President Lorraine Grillo urging them to consider acquiring churches that might come on the market.
“Although we wish to avoid the closings, they present a unique and time-sensitive opportunity to build new schools,” said Kallos.
He said his plan to buy churches and convert them into classrooms “would go a long way in increasing the [city’s] number of available schools seats . . . especially pre-kindergarten seats.”
The city Department of Education told The Post Friday it isn’t considering the idea.
Upon learning the news, Kallos said he is “very disappointed,” adding the de Blasio administration should be exploring “every available space in the city” to try resolving school overcrowding.
Kallos’ letter mapped out 18 churches as potential school sites in Manhattan, Staten Island and The Bronx.
Among them are Our Lady of Peace and Saint Lucy on the Upper East Side, Saint Pius V in The Bronx and Saint Mary of the Assumption on Staten Island.