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Scarborough slams city’s plan to put Eagle Academy in IS 59

By Ivan Pereira

The city took another shot at moving a new school into the halls of IS 59 Tuesday, but before it did one elected official openly criticized the city Department of Education for not listening to the concerned voices of parents.

The city Panel for Educational Policy was scheduled to vote Tuesday evening at a meeting in Staten Island on whether or not to place an Eagle Academy, a sixth- through 12th-grade all-boys school, in the Springfield Gardens campus at 132-55 Ridgedale St.

Although the city said the school’s 600-seat vacancy would be able to accommodate the 500 students, IS 59 parents and school supporters said that move would overcrowd classrooms and disrupt academic sessions.

State Assemblyman William Scarborough (D-St. Albans) sent a letter to city Schools Chancellor Joel Klein Monday condemning the proposal, claiming the academy was a good idea but its location was not.

“The school administrators, parents and elected officials were clear in their view throughout the public hearing process that while the Eagle Academy has a fine record, the introduction of 500 high school boys was not a good fit in IS 59, a middle school, especially when there were documented to be at least six or seven Queens high schools with space to house Eagle Academy,” he said in the letter.

The panel did not announce its decision by press time Tuesday, but was expected to approve the placement.

Last month, it tried to vote on the measure but the session had to be rescheduled since three of the panel’s 13 members were absent. Six of the mayor’s appointees voted in favor of the proposal during that meeting, while the Queens, Bronx and Manhattan borough presidents’ appointees rejected it.

One of the mayor’s appointees abstained from the vote.

During the interim, City Councilman Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans) sent the DOE a proposal to put Eagle into three closed parochial high schools in southeast Queens, but the city stuck with its plan.

Eagle Academy has two other schools in Brooklyn and the Bronx.

Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at ipereira@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4546.

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