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Queens Chronicle

DOE puts off decision on PS 11 busing plan

Expansion will force relocation of students

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Posted: Thursday, March 20, 2014 10:30 am | Updated: 11:13 am, Thu Mar 27, 2014.

The Panel for Educational Policy delayed a vote on a controversial plan to send students from PS 11 in Woodside to another school three miles away while the facility is expanded to accommodate more students.

At Tuesday night’s meeting in Brooklyn, the PEP voted to move a decision on the plan to April amid staunch opposition from parents and community leaders who feel there were better options.

Renovations to PS 11 to add 350 seats to the overcrowded school will force the relocation of students there for three years starting this September. The city Department of Education decided last fall to bus the students to PS 171, three miles away in Astoria, for one year before being moved to PS 339, a new school being built in Woodside, until the completion of the PS 11 project in 2018.

But parents and the community education council in District 30 say busing students as young as 5 years old to Astoria is a bad idea and the move could lead to classes having as many as 45 students.

The DOE said last year that it didn’t have time to negotiate another option because construction needed to start on PS 11 this year or funding would be lost.

The DOE source said the decision to delay the vote until the April 9 meeting of the PEP does not kill the proposal to bus the students to PS 171, but buys the CEC and the DOE time to work out another option.

“They still have to move,” the source said. “The question is whether there is somewhere else to move them to, somewhere more appropriate.”

Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan (D-Sunnyside) had suggested utilizing the former St. Theresa School building in Woodside, while Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) had asked the DOE to look into relocating the students to the new PS 313 in Sunnyside, which is opening this year.

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