Schools, Jobs, Economic Growth Cited By Shulman In State of The Borough – QNS.com

Schools, Jobs, Economic Growth Cited By Shulman In State of The Borough

Borough President Claire Shulman painted a rosy picture yesterday on Tuesday (Jan. 26) in her fourth State of the Borough address with a ringing endorsement of Queens’ "low unemployment, sound planning and promising economic development projects."
She declared that Queens is "ready for the next millennium."
Speaking before an enthusiastic audience of 500 gathered at the Theater In The Park in Flushing Meadow-Corona Park, Shulman called for a far-reaching educational "Marshall Plan" to put an end to what she called "pervasive overcrowding" in the borough’s schools.
The borough leader warned that the future of of many youngsters were threatened by the overcrowding.
"Our City’s biggest crisis is in our schools and we need a local Marshall Plan to solve it," she said. "Under the plan every child would be guaranteed a school seat ."
Shulman called for a longer school day, commensurate pay increases for certified teachers and an increase in staff development programs and resources and salaries would be increased for principals.
"This means ending tenure for principals."
But nowhere in her 117-page report on the State of the Borough does Shulman spell out details of her Marshall Plan for the borough’s schools or indicate how much funding is required and where it would come from. She only alluded to the federal government as a resource for the foundering school building program.
She hit hard at overcrowding.
"School districts in Queens have historically been on the "top ten list" of the most overcrowded districts in the City. Even if all the schools in the Board of Education’s five-year plan were built, we will still have a shortage of more than 58,000 seats in the Year 2007. We will have a bigger problem after the proposed five-year plan than we do now."
The borough president pointed to the appointment of Terri Thomson as the borough’s representative on the Board of Education as another example of educational progress.
She noted that students in Queens continued to score above the Citywide average in the Spring 1998 reading and math tests.
Shulman’s annual report card on borough activities also cited planning and building projects that will help secure the borough’s economic vitality in the 21st Century.
She noted the Food and Drug Administration’s new building at York College, the Federal Aviation Administration’s regional headquarters under construction near JFK Airport and the new Flushing and Langston Hughes libraries.
Other examples of economic growth she cited included street and sewer improvements, including the $100 million Carson St. project in southeast Queens and new plans for improving airport access.
Other projects included expansion of the Queens Center Mall, several multiplexes across the borough, a new promenade along Flushing Bay and comprehensive plans for the future use of Fort Totten, the Creedmoor Psychiatric Center and a new and expanded Family Court Building.
"The proof that our economic development efforts are working is in the latest unemployment figures available, showing that the borough’s rate dropped to 6.5 in November, the lowest rate in seven years," Shulman said.
The borough president saw important milestones in improving community health. She pointed to ground breaking last October for the new Queens Hospital Center which will include two "Centers of Excellence," including one in women’s health and the other in cancer care.
"This year’s State of the Borough Address comes at a time of great transition. While we are ending the decade of the nineties, we prepare with great anticipation for the next millennium."
She observed that with its children from many nations, this county of diversity will set the pace for a strong economy.

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