By Joe Anuta
Lawmakers and Forest Hills parents got a piece of good news this week after the city released a statement officially placing a one-year limit on a highly unpopular temporary relocation of a high school class at the Metropolitan Campus.
The April 13 letter was signed by Lenny Speiller, a spokesman for the city Department of Education, and addressed a key concern that if the construction of Maspeth High School is delayed, the DOE could extend the incubation of a ninth-grade class in Forest Hills.
But the letter said the Maspeth students will only be housed at the Metropolitan Campus for a year and then will move to their permanent school at 54-40 74th St.
“The Educational Impact Statement approved by the Panel for Educational Policy only provides Maspeth High School with permission to be at the Queens Metropolitan Campus for the 2011-2012 school year,” the letter said.
It was addressed to state Assemblymen Andrew Hevesi (D-Forest Hills) and Michael Miller (D-Woodhaven) along with City Councilwomen Karen Koslowitz (D-Forest Hills) and Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village), all of whom blasted language in the original proposal that suggested the incubation could be extended beyond September 2012.
A Feb. 9 proposal said that “if the Q585 building is not ready, any proposal to extend the co-location in Q686 or move [Maspeth High School] to a building other than Q585 would result in a new Educational Impact Statement.”
Following a heated Community Education Council District 28 meeting in February, the four elected officials sent a letter to the DOE requesting the Educational Impact Statement limit the incubation to a year, which is why Hevesi was pleased to receive the department’s latest letter.
“I would like to thank the DOE for recognizing our concerns and those of our communities. I believe this is a great first step toward ensuring a successful incubation that minimally affects our children,” he said in a statement. “In following this plan, the DOE shows how they can successfully collaborate to meet the needs of our community.”
The letter also said construction for the future Maspeth school is on schedule, and “we have no reason to believe these plans will be derailed or delayed in any way.”
Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail [email protected] or by phone at 718-260-4566.