The School Construction Authority says that if residents do not want a new elementary school on the Keil property in Bayside, an alternative site should be recommended.
The SCA should be told that we have another site for a school in District 26 and that site is PS 130 on Francis Lewis Boulevard and 42nd Avenue. The school is geographically in District 26, but as many know, it was stolen from the community many years ago. After several incarnations, it was turned over to District 25 with local students effectively shut out and bused off to overcrowded schools like PS 31 (near the Keil property), PS 162 and PS 159. If PS 130 were to be reclaimed for District 26, it would take the pressure off those other schools. A new elementary school may be appropriate in other District 26 areas and/or in District 25.
The Auburndale Improvement Association, a local civic organization, has collected over 200 petition signatures from residents living around PS 130 demanding that the school be returned to our community. Many of the petitions have detailed statements demonstrating just how upset and outraged local residents are.
Property values are affected as well. What family would want to buy a home in an area where children cannot readily use their local school and have to be bused off to other, overcrowded schools?
So far, we have received no response from Chancellor Walcott, the Department of Education, SCA or the two local superintendents regarding the petitions. Copies were sent to each as well as to local elected leaders.
The community around PS 130 will not give up until that school is returned to use for local children. We have no problem with the program for special needs children currently in the building remaining there. And we understand that the changeover to local use would be gradual so as not to disturb the education of children currently attending the school.
If there is room for other students, I do not think that the community would object to having them come to our school. But local children must be given first priority. Our fight will continue until we are successful.