By Anna Gustafson
Queens legislators announced Tuesday they successfully negotiated with the city Department of Education to ensure officials will give zoned students first crack at the 350 seats expected to open this fall in Forest Hills’ Metropolitan High School.
The DOE said in early February it was increasing the number of seats for incoming freshmen from 250 to 350, but said the additional 100 seats were going to be open to anyone in Queens, a decision met with ire from local community members.
Following meetings attended by city education officials and state Assemblymen Andrew Hevesi (D-Forest Hills) and Michael Miller (D-Glendale) and City Councilwomen Karen Koslowitz (D-Forest Hills) and Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village), the city agreed to give priority to students from School Districts 24 and 28.
“Although the negotiations with the Department of Education were frequent and difficult, the DOE ultimately honored their commitment to the families and children in our communities,” Hevesi said.
District 24 covers schools in Glendale, Ridgewood, Maspeth, Elmhurst and Long Island City. District 28 includes schools in Jamaica, South Ozone Park, Rego Park and Forest Hills.
Community members have long hoped Metropolitan High would alleviate overcrowding in local schools.
“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 of the DOE’s recent decision.
Crowley said the plan is a big benefit for area residents and will “go a long way to make sure this school serves our neighborhood first.”
Metropolitan HS will be part of a campus scheduled to open at 91-30 Metropolitan Ave. this fall. Two schools are slated to open there: the high school and a combined middle and high school.
“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.”
Reach reporter Anna Gustafson by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4574.