Parents voice mixed feelings after Jackson Heights school rezoning meeting

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Parents voiced their concerns at a public meeting held at I.S. 145 after being told of proposed rezoning changes planned for District 30 in Jackson Heights.THE COURIER/ Photos by Katelyn Disalvo
Parents voiced their concerns at a public meeting held at I.S. 145 after being told of proposed rezoning changes planned for District 30 in Jackson Heights.

BY KATELYN DISALVO

Although a proposed rezoning plan hopes to alleviate overcrowding at one Jackson Heights school, some local parents have mixed feelings on the changes.

The Department of Education (DOE) announced proposed rezoning changes to move the boundaries for I.S. 145, located at 33-34 80th St., and I.S. 230, located at 73-10 34th Ave. in Jackson Heights. The changes would take effect for the 2015-2016 academic year.

Local officials and DOE and Community Education Council 30 representatives gathered with parents at a Monday public meeting at I.S. 145 to discuss the changes and get input from those affected.

“I believe it will have a positive impact, the school is overcrowded and in the new school the kids will have a wonderful experience and education,” said Councilmember Daniel Dromm who attended the meeting. “We have a year to finish the project so we have time to address these issues that have been brought up in the meeting.”

I.S. 145, together with I.S. 230, is part of District 30 which suffers from a chronic overcrowding problem, according to officials.

Under the rezoning, the boundaries for I.S. 230 would expand to serve a new annex located at 74-03 34th Ave., slated to open in September. The new building is expected to accommodate 420 middle school students.

Parents present at the meeting said they are mainly concerned with the safety of their children as they walk to and from school after recent fatal accidents involving students. They also worry about the loss of a dual language program offered at other local schools. 

Other schools that might be affected by the rezoning include P.S. 69, P.S. 149, P.S. 212 and P.S. 222 in Jackson Heights, P.S. 89, P.S. 228 and P.S. 148 in Elmhurst, and P.S. 152 in Woodside.

Lousie Mulvinill, whose son attends P.S. 89, is concerned his child will no longer be offered the dual language program he has been in since kindergarten if rezoned. However, he is hopeful the plans will help with overcrowding.

“This will help the overcrowding and I am hopeful they will address the other problems we [the parents] have voiced in this meeting, because to me the most important thing is to improve the quality of the education,” said Mulvinill.

Yet according to Claudio Bassi, whose son also attends P.S. 89 and would have to walk from Elmhurst to the new addition at I.S. 230, overcrowding will just return as more students move into the area.

“I don’t feel that the rezoning will even really be effective in helping with the overcrowding, this is a growing community, and more and more kids will need to go to school in this area, so the school will just be overcrowded all over again,” said Bassi. “I don’t think they will implement anything we have said because the way they presented their plans it seemed like it was a done deal.”

The DOE and CEC 30 said they will take the parents’ input into account when making any changes to the plan. CEC 30 will hold a meeting on Thursday, Feb. 13 where they will vote on the rezoning project.

“I think we have to wait and see what the CEC takes away from this meeting and the feedback from parents,” said Dromm. “The CEC will have to go back and rework their plans. They are a great organization and I trust them to make the right decision.”

 

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