Tag Archives: community education council 30

DOE proposes rezoning plan to ease overcrowding at Jackson Heights school


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Map Courtesy of the Department of Education

One middle school in Jackson Heights may soon be less crowded.

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

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.

After the rezoning, about 120 incoming sixth graders from I.S. 145 would be zoned to I.S. 230 in the 2015-2016 school year. No current students will be affected.

According to the DOE, the plan was developed through working with Community Education Council 30 in addressing the needs of the community.

“This rezoning plan reflects a year-long collaboration between the Department and the CEC to create a proposal that best addresses the needs of the entire community,” said  DOE spokesperson Harry Hartfield. “Any final approval of the plan will be decided by the CEC for District 30.”

Isaac Carmignani, co-president and chair of the zoning committee of CEC 30, said the rezoning would bring some relief to the overcrowding of I.S. 145, which together with I.S. 230, is part of School District 30 which suffers from a chronic overcrowding problem.

Currently I.S. 145’s sixth grade is 948 seats and after the rezoning, the number would drop to between 815 and 835. I.S. 230’s size would increase from 350 seats to between 460 to 480.

“It doesn’t change the fact that they are going to still be tightly packed schools,” said Carmignani. “We all are looking at the bigger picture.”

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. 228 and P.S. 148 in East Elmhurst, and P.S. 152 in Woodside.

A public meeting to discuss the proposed rezoning changes and learn more information on how it will affect students will be held on Monday, Jan. 13 at 6 p.m. at I.S. 145.

“What we are trying to do is have as much community engagement as possible,” said Carmignani. “We’re looking forward to continue working on this issue as the months and years go by.”

For more information, contact CEC 30 at 718-391-8380 or email cec30@schools.nyc.gov.

 

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DOE says overcrowded schools should ‘best decide how to use their space’


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

Coaxing a child into studying can be challenging as it is – let alone when they are asked to do so in a raucous hallway or leaky trailer.

Community Education Council District 30 (CEC30), a western Queens parent group, is pushing the city to ease the congestion in two local elementary schools – so crowded that children are forced to learn in unconventional and unsuitable locations – by building additions to the existing structures.

The organization presented its concerns regarding the overcrowding at P.S. 11, located at 54-25 Skillman Avenue in Woodside, and P.S. 2, located at 75-10 21st Avenue in Jackson Heights, on January 6 in its annual recommendations to the School Construction Authority (CSA).

“At P.S. 11, teachers have to take students out of the classroom for individual attention, but because there is no other classroom, they pull a chair out in the hallway,” said Isaac Carmignani, CEC30 co-president. “P.S. 2 has no auditorium, and the cafeteria is part hallway. They have temporary classroom units which are over 20 years old. So the roofs leak, causing the floors to rot. The situations are doing damage to our young people – damage that we can’t measure.”

P.S. 11 has received a violation from the Department of Buildings for obstructing the hallways, and Carmignani says they have also been cited by the FDNY.

The Department of Education (DOE) currently has no plans to expand the schools, which Carmignani believes is a shame, considering the land already belongs to the city.

According to DOE spokesperson Frank Thomas, the schools are a high priority, but the situations are not drastic enough to be detrimental to the students’ education.

“We know that space in this district is at a premium, which is why we have a number of projects in the works for District 30 in Queens that will create more high quality school seats for parents and communities in the upcoming years,” said Thomas. “In the meantime, we trust the school leadership to best decide how to use their space.”

Based on DOE statistics from the 2010-11 school year, P.S. 2 had a utilization rate of 105 percent, while P.S. 11 had a rate of 114 percent.

Anna Efkarpides, the principal of P.S. 11, believes teachers are adapting as best they can, but more space would greatly enhance their abilities as educators.

“Due to the overcrowding, teachers have to push into already overcrowded rooms or go to hallways, the cafeteria when no lunch is being served, locker rooms and even supply rooms and book rooms,” said Efkarpides. “As much as kids try to focus, if every 10 minutes you have children walking past you, you cannot learn. And the children in the hallway have the special needs. We have half-rooms and we keep getting more children and special education classes.”

Efkarpides says she is also perplexed as to why the DOE spent several million dollars to repair the school’s yard rather than expand the building.

Parents have echoed the faculty’s concerns, fearing their children are in danger – both physically and educationally.

“It is very upsetting to know that your child’s school is subpar in terms of basic things like a chair to sit on or a room to sit in,” said Elba Santiago, whose son and daughter both attend P.S. 11. “I don’t think there are words that can describe how upsetting the situation is. My son is asthmatic, and in one of the classrooms that he was in, the teacher’s foot went through the wood because it rotted. It’s sad to say that these children are being taken advantage of because of their position in life. I guess the message we are giving [our children] is that education is not a priority.”