By Jenna Bagcal
The state is providing nearly $2 million in grants for various improvements to public schools across northeast Queens.
State Assemblyman Ed Braunstein (D-Bayside) announced Monday at PS 209 in Whitestone that he secured $1,875,000 for 25 public schools located in District 26, which covers Bayside, Whitestone, Little Neck, Douglaston and part of northeastern Flushing.
Through the State and Municipal Facilities Program, each of the schools is slated to receive a $75,000 technology grant which will go toward supplies like new computers, smart boards and security cameras.
“I could not think of a better way to utilize state grants than to invest in our schools,” Braunstein said Oct. 22. “This funding can be used for technology, such as smart boards, laptops, and security cameras, at the discretion of the school principals who know best what resources their students need. Moving forward, I will continue to fight to ensure that New York City schools get the state funding that they deserve.”
Public schools in Community School Districts 25 and 26, were among those to receive the grant. Community Education Council Presidents Joseph Di Benedetto and Alan Ong expressed their gratitude toward Braunstein’s unwavering support for the local schools.
“This wonderful grant will certainly be put to good use, is definitely needed, and is truly appreciated by all those who will share in its benefits,” Di Benedetto said. “Assembly District 26, by far, is made up of a group of hardworking, strong achieving students, and we would like to applaud Mr. Braunstein for passionately advocating towards the needs of our schools, and his incredible generosity with this grant.”
Also in attendance at the press conference was Executive Superintendent for Queens North Lawrence Pendergast and PS 209 Principal Dr. Mary E. McDonnell, whose school was also one of the grant recipients.
Back in March, Braunstein teamed up with City Councilman Paul Vallone (D-Bayside) to ask the Department of Education to allow principals to lock the front doors of schools following the tragic school shooting in Parkland, Fla.
Braunstein has also sponsored bills related to school safety, including one that required signage and other “traffic calming devices” to regulate school zone speed limits and another which restricts registered sex offenders from living within 1000 feet of a school or playgrounds.
Reach reporter Jenna Bagcal by e-mail at jbagc