Home Home Home About Us Home About Us About Us About Us /links/index.html /links/index.html /links/index.html /advertising/index.html /links/index.html /advertising/index.html /advertising/index.html /advertising/index.html About Us About Us /archives/index.html About Us /archives/index.html About Us /archives/index.html /archives/index.html /subscribe/index.html /archives/index.html /subscribe/index.html /archives/index.html /subscribe/index.html /subscribe/index.html /survey/index.html /subscribe/index.html /survey/index.html /subscribe/index.html /survey/index.html /survey/index.html /survey/index.html /links/index.html /survey/index.html /links/index.html /links/index.html /links/index.html
Home About Us About Us /links/index.html /advertising/index.html /advertising/index.html
About Us /archives/index.html /archives/index.html /subscribe/index.html /subscribe/index.html /survey/index.html /survey/index.html /survey/index.html /links/index.html










Camps & Sports


Children’s Corner

Collected Features


Cover Stories

Distance Learning


Famous Interviews


Medical Update

Metro Beat

Movies & Theater


Music, Art & Dance

Special Education

Spotlight On Schools

Teachers of the Month


















New York City
May 2002

Laying the Groundwork for Governors Island
By Bruce Myint

The public rejoiced when President Bush unveiled his decision to hand over Governors Island to New York City for education purposes. In a recent press conference, Bush announced that the new land would “enhance the quality of education for the people of New York,” calling it a “worthwhile and noble cause.”

Early reports marked Governor’s Island as the site of a new CUNY campus. Shifting CUNY departments to the new location would make room for New York City high schools. This would add to the dozen high schools currently on CUNY property. At a White House briefing, Mayor Bloomberg noted that the move “will free up space so that we can solve some of our space problems throughout the public school system, where we have just too-big class sizes for the children’s good.”

A month after the unveiling, details remain as cloudy as the water that surrounds the island, a former coast guard station located five miles off the southern tip of Manhattan. At 170 acres, the island is roughly one-fifth the size of Central Park.

The fate of Governors Island rests on CUNY’s forthcoming academic plan. According to CUNY Chancellor Matthew Goldstein, “the planning process is going on now at a very furious pace” to ensure that whatever moves take place will do so in a short time.

At a recent Board of Trustees meeting, the Chancellor outlined the need to establish a steering committee to assess the island’s existing resources and to think about generating revenue. Maintenance fees for the island have been estimated as high as $20 million dollars; a cost that CUNY can ill afford.

The chancellor would not say if the island would house a new campus for CUNY Law School and/or departments from Lehman College in the Bronx, or York College in Queens. Such specific details for the move, he explained, have not been brought up yet. In terms of selecting which campuses will be relocated, CUNY is still in a very early planning stage. Once that stage begins, explained Chancellor Goldstein “everything will be put on the table”.

While the academic plan is still under construction, it will almost surely include setting up a teacher training facility. The chancellor referred to this as an ‘anchor tenet’ stemming from President Bush’s wish to use the island to improve schooling in the city.

While CUNY clearly benefits from the acquisition, New York high schools stand to gain as well.

This could be the break New York City public schools sorely need. High schools citywide are bursting at the seams due to increased enrollment and a lack of new buildings. Two years ago a report issued by the Board of Education found city high schools operating at 112 percent capacity on average. Some ran at double their capacity. By 2004, the report predicted, overcrowding will worsen.

High schools in Queens and the Bronx experience the greatest overcrowding. Within two years, their capacity rates are expected to rise to 122 percent and 131 percent , respectively. Shuffling CUNY campuses from congested boroughs will allocate vital space for the city’s more than 300,000 high school students. Whether or not these boroughs will benefit from the move, however, is still up in the air.

At present, the Board of Education must wait for CUNY to unveil its academic plan to find out how public schools will benefit from the anticipated shuffling. As it stands, the Board of Education is located downstream in the decision making process.

“Once CUNY decides in terms of making changes and consolidating into [Governors Island], we’ll find out what’s been allocated to us,” said Board of Education spokesperson Kevin Ortiz. “Right now, at this point, we don’t know. We’re not in the process.”

Only time will tell how much city high-school students stand to gain. Until then, it is a matter of waiting for CUNY’s academic plan to float to the surface.#


Education Update, Inc., P.O. Box 20005, New York, NY 10001. Tel: (212) 481-5519. Fax: (212) 481-3919. Email: ednews1@aol.com.
All material is copyrighted and may not be printed without express consent of the publisher. © 2001.