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Queens Chronicle

Redistricting vote delayed for PS 49

Scores of parents seek to keep their children in present district

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Posted: Thursday, October 27, 2011 12:00 pm | Updated: 1:04 pm, Thu Dec 8, 2011.

Parents expecting a vote Tuesday night on a plan to redistrict PS 49 in Middle Village got a one-month reprieve at the Community Education Council 24 meeting.

And some parents intend to use that month to find some way — any way — to keep their school’s boundaries as they are.

City education officials contend that PS 49 already is at 132 percent of its designed capacity, with 1,060 students in a school designed for 802.

Redistricting would eliminate one of the five kindergarten sections beginning September, shifting the students, depending on their addresses, to PS 58 in Maspeth or PS 87 in Middle Village.

Numerous parents were concerned that they would have siblings split up between two schools. But the plan would grant priority admission status to kindergarten-eligible students who have older siblings in grades 1 through 5 in PS 49.

“To say that not everybody would be happy with redistricting would be an understatement,” said Madelene Taub-Chan, community superintendent for District 24.

More than 100 parents attended Tuesday’s meeting,which took place at PS 58.

“I’m close to PS 49 and would be redistricted to PS 87,” said parent Tara Morgan. “I live two blocks from PS 49, but I would be forced to walk with my child more than six blocks across Metropolitan Avenue to get to 87. It seems to me that something is not right.”

City officials said PS 49 has two distinct disadvantages in redistricting, with St. John’s Cemetery to the south in PS 87’s zone, and District 24’s impenetrable eastern border at Woodhaven Boulevard.

Parents acknowledged that PS 49 is overcrowded, but said PS 58 and PS 87 also are at 98 and 99 percent capacity, respectively.

“I’m not sure of the Department of Education’s numbers,” said Alevina Tripoli, principal of PS 58, whose rolls would increase by only 11 under city figures.

“We already are at capacity,” she said. “If you increase my district by only 12 blocks, with 10 houses on each block, that adds up to 120 houses.”

Added to that, she said are the recent replacement of 15 single-family houses with multifamily dwellings. She also said parochial schools have closed in surrounding districts.

“I have three of those schools, with an average of 210 students per school,” she said. “Just because those schools haven’t closed, it doesn’t mean they won’t.”

Several parents, including Linda Schirling, said the city must help the district clamp down on students who live outside the feeder district, but who gain admission with false documentation.

“Inspectors go to the homes and ask if they belong there,” Schirling said. “To ask someone who is breaking the law if they are breaking the law doesn’t seem to make sense to me.”

She said her neighbors have garnered 400 signatures opposing the redistricting. Nick Comaianni, president of CEC 24, said Chancellor Dennis Walcott and state legislators are the persons to send the petitions and e-mails.

“Let them see 400 e-mails a day,” he said. “Every day!”

Comaianni also said the practice of faking addresses and paperwork is common when parents want to send their children to a better school, and that enforcement is nonexistent.

“Enforcement is a joke,” he said. “People in Brooklyn lie to get into Ridgewood. People in Ridgewood lie to go somewhere else.”

Welcome to the discussion.