Woodside parents and politicians are asking the Department of Education to consider renting space in a nearby former Catholic school building rather than busing the kindergarten and first-graders miles away to Astoria.
Last week, a group of elected officials sent a letter to the DOE asking it to send the students from P.S. 11 in Woodside to the former St. Teresa School building, instead of P.S. 171 in Astoria.
The letter came as the agency announced the vote on the Woodside school’s partial co-location and re-siting had been postponed until April 9.
The 3-year relocation of the students, expected to begin for the 2014-15 school year, is a result of the School Construction Authority’s plan to build a brand new mini-building addition to P.S. 11 with a capacity of 856 seats.
In the letter the officials wrote the new option would provide the students the adequate space needed for a safe and positive learning environment, together with keeping in mind the concerns of parents. It would also keep the children in the same neighborhood.
P.S. 199 in Long Island City currently rents the first floor of the St. Teresa building for its kindergarten classes. The second and third floors are unoccupied, according to the officials.
Martin Connolly, father of three, was happy to hear about the DOE’s vote postponement and believes moving the children to the St. Teresa building would make it manageable for both the families and students.
“We as a family are more comfortable with the idea. We would like to keep our kids close by, we don’t believe our children are old enough to travel that distance every day,” said Connolly, who has a daughter in second grade and a son in kindergarten at P.S. 11. His youngest son is expected to start kindergarten at the school next year. “They’re toddlers, they’re still babies.”
The Woodside father also said other parents have not been told exactly what will happen during the three years of the temporary co-location and that when parents sign their children up for P.S. 11, they are not made aware of the re-siting.
“The DOE needs to know that everyone should be made aware of this,” he said. “They need to realize that everybody’s child is precious to them.”
The DOE did not respond to request for comment by press time.