PHOTO: Sen. Addabbo said this week that concerns surrounding PS 335 in Ozone Park had an impact on his decision to vote in favor of proposed legislation that would require community notification and input before new city schools are sited. Courtesy of Archinect
By Michael V. Cusenza
State Sen. Joe Addabbo, Jr. (D-Howard Beach) this week said that issues surrounding a proposed elementary school in Ozone Park influenced his vote to approve legislation that would require New York City education agencies to notify local residents about land purchased for the siting of a school and to hold a public forum to gather input from the community on the pros and cons of bringing new classroom facilities to the targeted area.
Addabbo on Monday said he had PS 335 on the mind as he voted in favor of S.5387 earlier this month. The school, located at 98-40 Albert Rd., is under construction and slated to open next year. Plans for the building were presented to Community Board 10 in October 2014, and several board members raised concerns regarding increased traffic and school bus routes.
Under the proposed legislation, the City Department of Education or Panel for Educational Policy, together with the School Construction Authority, would be required to notify the local community board about real property acquired for a new school. Within 45 to 90 days of the notification, the agencies must hold a community forum to gather input from residents on whether the proposed location is appropriate to the purpose. The time, date, and location of the forum would be decided in conjunction with the community board to help ensure that it is being held in a way most convenient for residents of the neighborhood.
“Very often, residents of a particular community have a much better understanding of their area and how it would be impacted by the siting of a new school or other facility than the City bureaucracy,” Addabbo said. “This legislation would help to ensure that the people who have the most at stake when a new school is being proposed for their area have a chance to let the heads of the appropriate education policy and construction agencies know whether they are going down the right or wrong path. Furthermore, they would be in the position to suggest improvements that might ultimately keep a needed school project on track.”
The bill is under review in the Assembly Education Committee.