PS 329 school in E. Elmhurst gets new zones

Map courtesy CDEC 30
By Rebecca Henely

A new elementary school in East Elmhurst is one of several coming down the pipeline in a part of the borough known for overcrowded schools, and Community District Education Council 30 mapped out which children will be going there at its monthly meeting last Thursday.

PS 329, at 26-25 97th St., will take in students along the south side of Astoria Boulevard between 88th and 106th streets. The southern border of the district runs along 30th Avenue from 88th to 98th streets, along Northern Boulevard between 98th and 102nd streets and along 32nd Avenue between 102nd and 106th streets.

“I think this is one of our best zoning efforts,” said CDEC 30 Co-President Jeff Guyton, who pointed out that the city Office of Portfolio Planning pretty much set the zones exactly as the council had wanted.

The council, which held its meeting at PS 148, at 89-02 32nd Ave. in East Elmhurst, advocates for schools in District 30, which includes East Elmhurst, Astoria, Long Island City, most of Jackson Heights, a large section of Woodside and a part of Corona. The council and the city School Construction Authority have several schools in the works throughout the district.

The new zoning for PS 329 will change the districts of PS 127 at 98-01 25th Ave. in East Elmhurst, PS 148, PS 149 at 93-11 34th Ave. in Jackson Heights and PS 228 at 32-65 93rd St. in East Elmhurst. The district changes would not go into effect until September 2013 and would affect only incoming kindergarten students or students new to the system. The zones are set so that no student will need to cross Astoria Boulevard to get to school.

The council also passed resolutions protesting the designation of six district schools as underused. These include PS 171 at 14-14 29th Ave. in Astoria and PS 280 at 32-20 94th St. in Jackson Heights, plus four Astoria middle schools: IS 126 at 31-51 21st St., IS 204 at 36-41 28th St., PS 76 at 36-36 10th St. and PS 17 at 28-37 29th St.

CDEC 30 members said these schools should not be considered underused because they already have problems with overcrowding, are magnet schools, need additional space for programs or plan to add grades over the next few years.

“I just think it’s ridiculous that schools that are being phased in are being designated underutilized,” said CDEC 30 member Jennifer Harper.

Isaac Carmignani, CDEC 30’s other co-president, said a school marked as able to take in more students has not had a negative effect on any of the district’s schools as of yet or forced them to take in students that they could not. But he said council members from other parts of the city have said some schools that are underused get another school co-located, which can be to the detriment of the first school.

“We feel that we need to push back,” he said.

The council also passed a resolution to speed up the time line of the city Department of Education’s removal of toxic polychlorinated biphenyl lights from 10 years to three years. They voted in favor of another resolution to change a requirement that school councils must have one member be a parent of a student learning English. The resolution opens up the requirement to include parents whose children have progressed beyond the English language learner designation.

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at rhenely@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.

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