Tag Archives: Assemblymember Margaret Markey

Parents, pols oppose temporary relocation plan for P.S. 11 students


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

A group of Woodside parents is sending the Department of Education (DOE) back to the drawing board.

Congressmember Joseph Crowley gathered with other local elected officials and parents of students from P.S. 11, located at 54-25 Skillman Ave., to voice their disagreement with the DOE’s final recommendation of sending the school’s kindergarten and first grade students to P.S. 171 in Astoria.

The temporary relocation of the students, expected to begin for the 2014-15 school year, comes as the School Construction Authority (SCA) plans to build a brand new mini-building addition to P.S. 11 with a capacity of 856 seats.

“I commend the DOE and the SCA for allocating millions of dollars towards this expansion,” Crowley said. “At the same time, though, we must ensure that our children, especially our youngest elementary students, are not displaced to a school outside of the confines of their own neighborhood.”

Last month, the elected officials sent a letter to Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña urging her to reconsider the proposed plan.

According to the DOE’s proposal, the incoming kindergarten class and some first grade students would be transported by bus to P.S. 171, close to three miles away from their zoned school. Then for the 2015-16 school year the children would be relocated to a new elementary school located at 39-07 57th Street. For the third year, the students would then return to P.S. 11.

Woodside parent Julianne O’Riordan currently has a daughter in second grade and a son in kindergarten at P.S. 11, and her youngest son is expected to start kindergarten at the school next year.

“For the first three years of school he’s going to be moved around Queens like a piece on a chess board,” said O’Riordan, about her youngest son, Enda. “We love P.S. 11, its principal, teachers and staff. That is why we are upset that our younger children may not get to have the same wonderful experience that our daughter has enjoyed.”


Enda,4, and his 5-year-old brother Luke will have to go to P.S. 171 next year. (Photo Courtesy of Julianne O’Riordan)

Although the group of parents and elected officials are thrilled to be getting an expansion for the crowded school, they are calling on the DOE to look at different options that would keep the children in the community.

“Taking these kids and moving them miles away to school is going to damage their education and slow them down in their progress and it’s something we impose upon the [DOE] to fix, and fix before it becomes a problem,” State Senator Michael Gianaris said.

Throughout the process of deciding the best course of action during the estimated three year construction, consideration was given to every possible option, according to the DOE.

“Our aim is to deliver a state-of-the-art addition to the building, and as part of our newly announced engagement protocol, we will be scheduling a meeting with the entire school community,” said DOE spokesperson Harry Hartfield.

 

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Op-Ed: State grants go to boost Queens tourism


| oped@queenscourier.com

BY ASSEMBLYMEMBER MARGARET MARKEY

With 52 million visitors to New York City last year, Queens is already the city’s second most important borough for the tourist and travel industry. This year, thanks to economic development funding from New York State, the Queens Chamber of Commerce and the Queens Tourism Council we are setting out to unlock even more of the tremendous potential of this economic sector for our borough.

There are currently more than 43,000 tourism-related jobs in Queens, nearly 100 hotels and a host of museums, cultural organizations, restaurants and such major venues as Citi Field, the U.S. Tennis Association and Resorts World Casino.

To help spread the word about this array of attractions and services in what must be the most diverse county in America, I am proud to have provided a grant of $70,000 to the Queens Tourism Council for the coming year.

This funding from the NY State Department of Economic Development’s “I Love NY” program will enable the Council to conduct an aggressive multi-media marketing campaign to promote businesses and cultural attractions to residents of the Tri-State Area and to establish a presence at international travel and hospitality conferences.

Another major tourism program that will debut this summer is the “This is Queens” smartphone app, developed with $100,000 in tourism funding from the New York State Department of Economic Development.

Launching in time to capitalize on the many thousands of new visitors who will come to Queens for the U.S. Open and the Major League All-Star Game, the free service will tell visitors where they can stay and eat and will also suggest additional activities for them at locations throughout the borough. It will also provide photos and information on the borough’s cultural and entertainment attractions and provide directions by train, bus or walking.

Unlocking the enormous economic potential of the tourism industry in Queens has long been an important goal for me.

When I was a member of the senior staff of Borough President Claire Shulman in 1990s, I created the first tourism program for Queens by establishing the Queens Tourism Council.  From that beginning with an emerging array of museums and cultural destinations and only a handful of hotels, the Council now has 50 entities and continues to grow.

As we see the continuing enhancement of Queens cultural facilities and historic sites and the expansion of tourism and entertainment opportunities in locales as diverse as Long Island City and Flushing, we can expect the travel industry to continue to produce new jobs and economic vitality for our borough and I am delighted that the State of New York State is helping.

Assemblymember Margaret Markey, who represents the 30th District of Queens, is Chair of the Assembly Committee on Tourism, Parks, Arts and Sports Development.

 

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