Grade Shift at Schools

Sunnyside Adds Class Dropped In Woodside

Parents supported a Department of Education (DOE) proposal to drop a grade from a Woodside middle school and add one to a Sunnyside elementary school this September during a public hearing last Wednesday night, Apr. 9.

The DOE plans to expand P.S. 199, the Maurice A. Fitzgerald School located at 39-20 48th Ave. in Sunnyside, to the fifth grade; it presently has classes from kindergarten up to the fourth grade.

Simultaneously, the DOE would eliminate the fifth-grade class from I.S. 125, the Thomas J. McCann School located at 46-02 47th Ave. in Woodside, leaving it an institution for students from sixth through eighth grades. I.S. 125 is being truncated since it is losing a portable building on campus to make way for a permanent addition with up to 655 new class seats scheduled to be completed for the 2017-18 school year.

Fourth-graders at P.S. 199 presently are zoned to be promoted to fifth grade at I.S. 125. Should the DOE plan be approved, the fourthgraders would be promoted to fifth-grade at P.S. 199 and would make their transition to I.S. 125 for the sixth grade.

The DOE projects that the total enrollment at P.S. 199 for the 2014- 15 school year would range between 1,115 and 1,175 students. Meanwhile, I.S. 125’s enrollment is anticipated to drop by between 195 and 215 seats.

Both main campuses at P.S. 199 and I.S. 125 are located within walking distance of one another. P.S. 199 also operates annexes at 50-15 44th St. and 48-25 37th St. (colocated with P.S. 110) in Long Island City.

If the proposal is approved, however, the DOE would temporarily relocate a portion of P.S. 199 to the new P.S. 343, located at 45-46 42nd St. in Sunnyside, which is slated to open in September. The shift is needed since the 44th Street annex will be closed for a year to undergo renovations.

Known as the Children’s Lab School, P.S. 343 will host its first kindergarten class this September and add a class each year thereafter until it is a full elementary school up to the fifth grade.

More changes may be made next year after the 44th Street annex renovations are completed, the DOE indicated. It plans to introduce a separate plan to shift P.S. 110 to a new building on 43rd Avenue in Corona, leaving all of the 37th Street annex for P.S. 199.

P.S. 199 would be able to accommodate all of is students within its main building and the 37th Street annex, leaving the renovated 44th Street annex for other purposes to be determined.

According to the DOE, the grade expansion plan at P.S. 199 was developed “in collaboration with the school leadership” and “provides the opportunity for P.S. 199’s elementary students to remain [there] across the elementary grade continuum, as well as transition into middle school in the sixth grade along with their District 24 peers.”

Depending on enrollment, the leadership of P.S. 199 may decide to re-site a portion of different grades to P.S. 343 and continue to have kindergarten or first grade in either the school proper or the annex.

Nick Comaianni, president of District 24’s Community Education Council (CEC 24), told the Times Newsweekly in a phone interview that the majority of parents at last Wednesday’s hearing were in favor of the proposal, as was the council itself.

“Basically, this is the way it was before,” Comaianni said, noting that P.S. 199 previously went up to the fifth grade, but the class was relocated to I.S. 125 due to overcrowding.

CEC 24 is expected to vote on a resolution in support of the project at its next meeting on Tuesday, Apr. 29. The Panel for Educational Policy is slated to vote on the proposal at its May 29 meeting at the Murry Bergtraum High School for Business Careers in Manhattan.

The DOE is accepting oral comments by calling 1-212-374- 7621. Written comments may be sent via email to D24Proposals@schools. nyc.gov or by standard mail to Emily Ades, Office of District Planning, 52 Chambers St., New York, NY 10007.

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