Some Staten Island parents say a schoolyard at PS 4 has become a parking lot for teachers, despite recent improvements meant to enhance the space for students. NY1's Amanda Farinacci filed the following report.
With the names of New York sports teams scrawled on a side wall of the newly re-paved playground at PS 4 in Arden Heights, the place looks inviting to the elementary school students who go to school there. But you won't find any kids playing there. Instead, you'll find parked cars belonging to PS 4 teachers.
"It took the playground away from the children. it's a wrong thing to do," said Tom Speedling, a PS 4 parent.
The repaving was finished just before school ended last year thanks to a $250,000 grant from City Councilman Vincent Ignizio. But when school began in September the schoolyard was still off limits to students, leaving just a smaller playground to accommodate nearly 800 students.
"Gym and recess at any one given time you can have mixed grades while you're having first graders with fourth graders, second graders with fifth graders, and personally that's, obviously that's a recipe for disaster," Richard Porter, a PS 4 parent.
The Department of Education blames a new supermarket up the block. For years, teachers were allowed to use the shopping plaza for parking. But when Key Food moved in, the supermarket chain ended that courtesy and told store employees to park elsewhere, forcing them to Nedra Place and other nearby streets.
Councilman Ignizio says he's been working with the city Department of Transportation and Department of Education to come up with a solution that he says he hopes will make everyone happy.
"I didn't allocate the taxpayers dollars for a parking lot. But I appreciate what the principal has to deal with about getting his teachers in," said Ignizio. "So I think there's a solution we can come up with we can do with as we have throughout the city we can look at doing some permitted parking on Nedra so that the teachers and faculty will be able to have a place and the kids can get their playground back."
Ignizio says, if approved, issuing parking permits for teachers could happen as quickly as a month from now, hopefully giving the kids back their playground sooner than later.