About 90 percent of the schools within District 24 are overcrowded, Community Council President Nick Comaianni said.
“Overcrowding has been a problem for as long as I can remember,” said Comaianni, who has served in his leadership position for 10 years.
Therefore, in a move to make more room, the board — which covers Glendale, Ridgewood, Maspeth, Middle Village, Corona, Elmhurst, Woodside, Liberty Park, Long Island City and Woodhaven — voted on Monday night to approve a new school zone that would give some relief to IS 61, the Leonardo Da Vinci School, located at 98-50 50 Ave. in Corona.
The board took public comment. No one spoke out against the zone, but attendees reiterated the filled-to-the-brim classroom problem at IS 61, which teaches 2,330 students.
Q311, the newly created school zone, will allow the Department of Education to build a new school a couple blocks away from IS 61.
The new zone’s west boundary is roughly from 98th Street to 35th Avenue where it cuts diagonally up to Astoria Boulevard, and 105th Street. The north boundary is Astoria Boulevard. The east boundary is the Grand Central Parkway. The south boundary is 45th Avenue.
Students who are already attending the middle school will not be moved. The new seats will be filled with incoming sixth- graders who live within the Q311 boundaries.
“It will be newly registered students in the incoming class. We never pull from the school,” Comaianni said. “That doesn’t happen.”
The 800-seat school will take three years to build. Next school year 120 incoming sixth-graders and 120 additional students the following school year will be located at the Arts and Leather High School at 94-10 94 St.
“The high school is underutilized,” Comaianni said.
Students living between 45th and 35th avenues and between 98th and 103rd streets will attend class at the temporary location at the high school.
Comaianni said it’s hard to create school zones for Corona because many landlords illegally subdivide their one-family homes into multiple-units.
“They aren’t meant to house all those families,” he said.
In addition to relieving IS 61, CEC 24 is looking at three additional sites to help out more Corona schools.