District 30 rezoning pending, call for more schools

Parents, teachers and community members met at P.S. 149 in Jackson Heights to discuss the rezoning of school district 30, instead they were met with a new proposed Five-Year Capital Plan by the Department of Education’s School Construction Authority (SCA).
The community had been awaiting the rezoning decision for eight schools in District 30, starting in the 2011-2012 school year. That’s because the Department of Education (DOE) is working on creating a new zone to accommodate the newly opened Public School 280 on 94th Street and 35th Avenue in Jackson Heights. Some of the schools that will be affected by the rezoning are P.S. 69, P.S. 92, P.S./I.S. 127, P.S. 148, P.S. 149, P.S. 212, P.S. 222 and P.S. 228.
“We have fought consistently to have more schools in our neighborhood, I think we’ve done a fairly good job,” said Edwin O’Keefe Westley, president of the Jackson Heights Beautification Group. “What they can do is rezone schools within the district and tell us which schools to pull from in order to work out the overcrowding issue.”
But at the Community District Education Council 30 (CDEC30) meeting on November 18, SCA representatives stayed away from the rezoning matter. However, they urged parents to write to their state senators and assemblypersons to provide funds to build more schools.
“With Catholic and private schools closing more students are coming into the public school system making them over crowded,” said Monica Gutierrez from the SCA. “Write to your state senator or your assembly person to improve your schools.”
The Five-Year Capital Plan includes the building of I.S. 230 Annex, a new school that will be built on an already purchased empty lot on 34th Avenue and 73rd Street in East Elmhurst. The annex will be a support for schools in the area. According to the proposal, the Annex will have new amenities such as a brand new kitchen, new library, smart boards that will replace black boards, to name a few.
“We are asking for an additional $4.4 billion, on top of the already granted $11.3,” said Gutierrez. “If you want new schools, new kitchens, smart boards, auditoriums, playgrounds, these are things you have to request your state senator or assemblyperson under Resolution A.”
Parents who were concerned how the construction of more new schools would affect the rezoning of the school district were directed to the DOE for answers.
“Those are Department of Education questions, we are the School Construction Authority,” Gutierrez said.
CDEC30 Co-President Isaac Carmignani explained the council has 45 days to vote on the proposed rezoning plan. The plan by the DOE’s Office of Portfolio Planning will most likely be voted on during the next CDEC30 meeting on December 16. DOE hopes to have a plan approved by the end of December before registration for kindergarten begins between January and February.
“We were close to a final plan in our discussion with the DOE,” Carmignani said. “But there were a few points that needed hashing out and which the community felt passionate about.”

For more information, parents should call the CDEC30 at 718-391-8380, send an e-mail to [email protected] or visit the office at 28-11 Queens Plaza North, Room 520, in Long Island City.

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