Concerned parents in Queens will hear a potential fix to overcrowding in Corona schools at this month’s Community Education Council 24 meeting.
It is an old issue for the volunteer members of the parent organization, which advises on schools in Corona, Glendale, Elmhurst, Maspeth, Middle Village and Ridgewood. But the April 28 meeting at PS 19 on Roosevelt Avenue will be the first in which Education Department officials will pitch this particular fix, which will create a new zone for a brand new school.
“We have had so many rezonings just like this one throughout the years,” said CEC 24 President Nick Comaianni. “This one, for us, is a no brainer.”
Comaianni said overcrowding has been an ongoing issue brought before his board, which he cited as one of the most overcrowded districts throughout the entire city. This time, the city said a presentation will be delivered on the rezoning of five Corona schools – PS 19, PS 16, PS 307 and PS 13.
The new zone will make way for a new school being built – PS 315, the city said.
“We’re building this new school and it is no doubt going to alleviate overcrowding in that part of the borough,” Comaianni said. “We think PS 19 will be getting the most relief.”
A spokesman for the city Department of Education said the specifics of the presentation and rezoning proposal were still being finalized in anticipation of the meeting, but will be ready by April 28. The meeting, he said, was scheduled to solicit community feedback in the early stages of the process.
This new building in Corona was expected to be home to nearly 600 students by the time it reaches its full capacity in the year 2017, the DOE said. A similar public hearing was also scheduled for April 29 at PS 58.
“We don’t know for sure what we are going to hear, but I’m looking forward to it,” Comaianni said. “Let’s see what people have to say about it.”
Overcrowding in Corona’s public schools has been an ongoing issue for years. Former PS 19 student and now city Councilwoman Julisa Ferreras (D-East Elmhurst) and state Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) have spearheaded several efforts to solicit community input to address overcrowding in western Queens schools, where more than 7,000 kids get their education. The elected officials set up a task force last year looking to build communication lines between schools and the parents of Queens.
Advocacy group Make the Road New York of Jackson Heights released a report detailing the number of seats up for grabs in the 24th District and said the roughly 8,700 seats were unaccounted for in the city’s current plans to create only 5,055 through 2018.
Not too long ago, CEC 24 was faced with a very similar situation when the city proposed to rezone another part of the district to reduce overcrowding at PS 49 in Middle Village. That proposal was unanimously rejected, however, because Comaianni and his fellow board members argued the plan would only increase the population of other schools in the area.
By Phil Corso