Area lawmakers declared victory last week after securing priority zoning for the soon-to-be-opened Queens Metropolitan High School in Forest Hills.
The Department of Education expanded the school’s inaugural class from 250 to 350 after complaints that the facility would be underutilized. But until last week, the agency would not commit to local zoning for the additional 100 spaces — instead drafting plans to recruit students from throughout the borough despite earlier pledges to the contrary.
Now, the DOE is backing down on those plans after a series of discussions with Assemblymen Andrew Hevesi (D-Forest Hills) and Mike Miller (D-Woodhaven) and Councilwomen Karen Koslowitz (D-Forest Hills) and Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village). According to the lawmakers, families living in school districts 24 and 28 will now have priority for all 350 seats in next fall’s freshman class.
“This plan will relieve severe overcrowding in the surrounding schools, as it was originally planned to do, and provide a better learning experience for our children,” Miller said. “While the plan is not a perfect one, it is a good one. We now face the challenge of making sure our parents have the proper information about this new school and the appeals process that will make sure their child has a seat in the classroom.”
The 1,000 seat high school will begin phasing in students next fall, when the initial group of 9th graders occupies the first available seats. The facility will continue to expand as those students progress over the next four years and academic programs for all high school grade levels are implemented.
The $128 million campus will also share space with a hybrid middle and high school, which will include students from grades six through 12. The Metropolitan Expeditionary Learning School will accept its first group of 6th graders next fall as well. The DOE will give priority seating to School District 28 residents for all 100 available seats.
“We fought long and hard to make sure that the Metropolitan High School was locally zoned,” Koslowitz said. “I look forward to the school providing a fantastic learning experience for students in the years to come.”
School District 24 includes the neighborhoods of Maspeth, Middle Village, Glendale, Ridgewood and Elmhurst. District 28 includes the neighborhoods of Forest Hills, Rego Park, Kew Gardens, Briarwood, Jamaica, Springfield Gardens and parts of Ozone Park, Richmond Hill and Jamaica Hills.
The new campus is located at 90-30 Metropolitan Ave.