2009-11-18 / Features

More School Seats May Be Coming To 3 Queens Schools

BY JOHN TOSCANO

Quinn stated, “As we said in the spring, for too long our students have been forced to take seats in a cafeteria, or compete with 30 other students for a teacher’s time and attention.” Quinn stated, “As we said in the spring, for too long our students have been forced to take seats in a cafeteria, or compete with 30 other students for a teacher’s time and attention.” Three school districts in Queens are in line to get more new school seats than originally promised under a proposed amendment to the city’s Five-Year Capital Plan released last week.

The School Construction Agency (SCA) outlined a plan to the City Council last Wednesday. The council said in a release, “Many of the seats being announced today will be located in School Districts 15, 24, 29, and 30, which have been particularly hard hit by overcrowding in recent years.”

School District 24 covers Glendale, District 29 covers Rosedale, and District 30 covers Astoria, Long Island City and Jackson Heights. District 19 is in Brooklyn. City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Education Committee Chairman Robert Jackson broke the news of more school seats being planned. They said that at the council’s urging, the Bloomberg mayoral administration had agreed to increase the number of new classroom seats in the city’s Five-Year Capital Plan by a total of 5,123.

The SCA had outlined its plan for expanded school capacity in a proposed amendment to the Capital Plan first made public last Wednesday.

There were no further details about the proposed plan such as how many seats were in the original Capital Plan nor how the seats in either plan were being allotted to the school districts.

The council release stated that during negotiations on the Five-Year Capital Plan earlier this year, the city council “repeatedly called for the increased capacity at public schools to better reflect the needs of growing communities”.

Quinn stated, “As we said in the spring, for too long our students have been forced to take seats in a cafeteria, or compete with 30 other students for a teacher’s time and attention.

“While our work is far from over, the new seats announced today will go a long way towards improving the quality of education in New York City. In the coming months we’ll review the SCA proposal, and look for the most effective ways to reduce overcrowding in all five boroughs.”

“For over a decade, I’ve been pushing the city and state to do more to alleviate overcrowding in our public schools,” Jackson stated. “Today’s announcement of over 5,000 new classroom seats is a significant step in the right direction. We need to carefully review the details of this proposed amendment, including concerns that the funding used for these seats could delay the construction of other seats elsewhere in the system. But I’m thrilled that the mayor and Chancellor have heard the voices of New York City parents, and look forward to working with them to expand capacity even further.”

The proposed amendment will now be sent to every district’s Community Education Council, as well as to the city council, for public comment and review. After evaluating all public feedback, the city Department of Education is expected to release a final amendment in February. The amendment must then be voted on by the Panel for Educational Policy, before coming to the full council for a vote in the spring.

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