2013-05-08 / Features

PEP Meeting Addresses Overcrowding In Districts 24, 30

BY RICHARD GENTILVISO

The Department of Education will temporarily send about 150 students from P.S. 143 attending kindergarten in leased space at the private Transfiguration Annex to Q287, a new school opening in District 24 this September. The Panel for Educational Policy (PEP) approved the move at its April 17 meeting.

The expiration in June of a two-year lease with Transfiguration, located at 98-07 38th Avenue, spurred the short-term decision aiding overcrowding at P.S. 143, located at 34- 74 113th Street. Q287 will open at 111-08 Northern Blvd. in Corona this September and become the permanent home for P.S. 330, now located at 86-37 53rd Avenue.

Several elementary schools in Corona, all in District 24, currently enroll more students than they have room for and P.S. 143 has seen an increase of more than 80 percent in its kindergarten wait list requiring extra space.

Q287 has a targeted capacity of 420 students and P.S. 330, currently serving kindergarten through grade two, plans to phase in one grade each year, ultimately serving kindergarten through grade five students. P.S. 330 expects about 330 to 370 students to be enrolled in kindergarten through third grade for the 2013-2014 year at Q287 and P.S. 143 will add approximately another 140 to 150 kindergarten students for a projected overall opening enrollment of 470 to 520 students at Q287.

A recent report by Councilmember Julissa Ferreras (21st District) and the advocacy group, Make the Road New York, said Districts 24 and 30 in Queens have the fastest growing populations of immigrant students in the city. District 24 is at 111 percent capacity while District 30 is at 104 percent capacity.

In response to the DOE proposal to place kindergarteners from P.S. 143 inside Q287 with P.S. 330, Ferreras asked DOE to form a task force to collaborate with the community on establishing long-term solutions to address overcrowding.

A meeting of that task force, including Ferreras, state Senator Jose Peralta, Chancellor Dennis Walcott, School Construction Authority President and CEO Lorraine Grillo, members of CDEC 24 and 30, and others, was held on April 25 at Langston Hughes Library in Corona.

DOE has acknowledged the severe overcrowding in District 24 and its effects on the community and said four additional funded projects in the Corona/Elmhurst communities are in the current capital plan with an anticipated completion date of September 2015.

By the year 2019, approximately 9,000 additional students will enroll for school in District 24 while 1,000 more will enroll in District 30, according to Make the Road New York.

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