Manhattan parents were concerned about overcrowding in their children’s already strained schools a day after City Hall warned of an influx of “thousands” of migrants in New York City public schools.
“The kids that are already there are crammed…… It was 28 kids in my daughter’s classroom last year, and that was the second grade. I’m worried that this year it could be 30-plus, you know, 40,” said Maria Blanco, a Chelsea elementary school parent.
Some 18,500 children in the city’s shelter system are enrolled in public schools for the upcoming year, but in addition to migrants, that figure also includes homeless children, according to the city.
It does not account for asylum-seeking kids who have not yet registered for school – a number which will grow sharply in the coming weeks amid a “very large” expected influx, officials warned Tuesday.
Many migrant families are being housed in the heart of Manhattan, which has resulted in the borough’s Community Education Council District 2 seeing about 1,200 migrant kids in its roughly 40 schools which span from the Battery to the Upper East Side, according to CED 2 leaders.
Blanco, 41, sends her 7-year-old daughter to PS 033 Chelsea Prep. She will be in the 3rd grade when she starts school on September 7th.
Blanco is worried that the school will have more problems this academic year because she anticipates there will more migrant students in the already “crammed” classrooms.
“There will be more kids coming. Where will they be placed? It’s gonna be worse. Every time I see the news, there are five more buses coming,” the mom said Wednesday.
“And, it’s not only adults, you have kids. They will have to go to school.”
“There were more than 20 kids last year. I’m pretty sure it’s going to double that amount this year,” she said, referring to migrants’ kids who were sent to Chelsea Prep. “We have no space.”
Blanco was concerned that more migrant children would result in larger classroom sizes and less individual attention from teachers.
“When it comes to one-on-one with the teacher, it’s going to be impossible, especially for the special needs kids. That teacher might now have ten more kids that need her attention.”
She said the migrant kids speak several languages because “they are coming from all over the world. Now, it’s like we’ve got to stop for these kids.”
Mayor Eric Adams on Tuesday had mentioned that the Department of Education would be setting aside funds to provide English as a Second Language instruction to the new students, who largely don’t speak English, a job he encouraged any Spanish-speaking New Yorker to apply for.
“We have been successful through the chancellor and through the entire DOE team, we have been successful in absorbing those young people to make sure no child is going without education in our school systems,” Adams said Wednesday during an alarmist press briefing where he predicted the cost of the city’s migrant crisis was set to soar to $12 billion by 2025.
“We don’t have the exact number because it’s a continuing, growing and moving number.”
Blanco’s daughter was set to enter the school’s Gifted and Talented program, but the mom admitted she was “afraid she might fall back; I’m worried about that.”
The proud mom said she pays for additional tutors to keep her performing “at the right level in reading, math and science,” an expense that was sometimes hard to meet.
“I’m worried the cost might go up and I can’t afford it but it’s definitely necessary if she is not going to get the one-on-one attention that she needs. I have to continue that but if the cost goes up, it’s going to be a problem. I live in NYCHA housing,” Blanco said.
“This situation is horrible. I’m all for second chances but this is too much. They need to find a solution. The city needs to find a solution,” she said.
A day earlier, a father who also sends his daughter to a Chelsea elementary school echoed Blanco’s concerns.
“Teachers are already overloaded with the amount of kids in the class now, so are they going to hire more teachers? Or are the teachers going to have double the amount of kids in the class?,” said Anthony, 30.
Anthony’s daughter was set to attend 2nd grade at PS 340 when school resumes in September.
“I understand that kids need to be in school. They’re still kids no matter where they are from, however, I hope this doesn’t take away from the already lack of funding we have,” he said.
Lori, 27, has a son that will be starting school in the district this fall. She told The Post she was worried about the lack of information she had been receiving.
“I found out from a couple of parents that they are expecting a large number of extra kids to attend the schools in this district.”
“Why hasn’t this been talked about sooner? School starts in a few weeks and I’ve heard very little information on what’s going to happen. I’m worried. It’s my first time sending my child to school, and I as the parent, don’t know what to expect. How will I prepare him for what to expect?,” Lori said.
“Is it going to be extra classes? Extra kids to each teacher? Will there still be after-school programs? Any details, any at all from the city would be great.”
CEC 2 Council Member Craig Slutzkin, 48, said the district was set to adopt a resolution Wednesday that calls on City Hall to conduct a citywide survey to account for all migrant kids and their needs, information that he said had been “hard to get.”
“[I]t is our understanding that the Department of Education has reached out to some of such families but not in a widespread, data-driven manner,” the resolution read.