In an effort to put an end to overcrowding in some of its public schools, the District 24 Community Education Council unanimously voted on a resolution Tuesday which aims to rezone and regulate schools in its district during a meeting held at PS 58 in Maspeth.
According to CEC 24 President Nick Comaianni, the district is the most overcrowded in Queens. “This has been going on for at least 15 years,” said Comaianni of the issue of overcrowding in schools. “We’re trying to solve it but it’s hard for us to catch up.”
In conjunction with the Department of Education’s Office of District Planning, the resolution agrees to return Corona students originally from PS 110 who are now at St. Raphael’s School in Long Island City, because of overcrowding schools, to an area that would be closer to them. They would be transferred to a new school in Corona, PS 315, in September 2015.
The reasoning behind the zoning is to reduce the sizes of certain public schools in the area and to minimize the need to move students from those schools to ones that aren’t even in the same neighborhood.
Concerned parents such as Bertha Asitimbay, whose children are at PS 19, one of the schools that the CEC and the Office of District Planning propose to rezone, attended the meeting to learn more about the proposition and voice their concerns.
“On the one hand,” Asitimbay said, “PS 19 is very crowded, so this is a good change but on the other, I worry that the children entering kindergarten may not be placed there.”
But the change would not occur overnight and is, according to Emily Ades from the Office of District Planning, carefully thought out. Ades believes that children are happier to attend school closer to home and points out that the community has a say in the zoning plan.
“We do an analysis of the building … work with the CEC to draw a map and then we present it to the community so you can give feedback to your council before it gets voted on in May.”
Students who are already enrolled in school will not be affected by the zoning —it would only be relevant for children enrolling in kindergarten or those who are new. In addition, if their siblings were not enrolled before the zoning changes and there is room in the school, they are given priority so that they may go to the same school as their siblings.
The CEC also voted unanimously on two other resolutions. One would transform PS 199 into a K-grade 5 school and its fourth-grade students would remain there while the neighboring middle school, IS 125 becomes a school for sixth-through eighth-graders as opposed to five through eight.
In the other resolution, the CEC unanimously denounced the public funding given to charter schools and urges Gov. Cuomo to allow Mayor de Blasio to oversee this.
Although the resolution may not directly impact what will happen with charter schools, Comaianni believes that it is crucial they at least get their voices and those of the community heard.