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Schools March 24, 2011  RSS feed

Room Found At M. V. School For Kindergarten Students

Proposal To Cap Incoming Class Scrapped
by Robert Pozarycki

The Department of Education (DOE) and local school activists have reportedly reached a deal that will avoid limiting the number of seats available for incoming kindergarteners at P.S./I.S. 49 for the 2011-12 school year in September.

Last week, hundreds of parents who had pre-registered their children to attend kindergarten at P.S./I.S. 49 blasted a plan during a special meeting at the Middle Village school last Wednesday, Mar. 16, to allow just 75 students into the incoming class. Though more than 120 students had been pre-enrolled, there was only room for 75 seats due to a lack of space.

Nick Comaianni, president of District 24’s Community Education Council, announced at the advisory body’s meeting on Tuesday night, Mar. 22, that the council along with the DOE and P.S./I.S. 49 Principal Anthony Lombardi have formed “an alternate plan” allowing all pre-registered kindergarten students zoned to attend the school this September. Additional space to accommodate the youngsters was made by consolidating other classes and eliminating certain programs.

The agreement was confirmed by a representative of City Council Member Elizabeth Crowley.

“We will keep all the zoned kids there this year,” Comaianni told the Times Newsweekly. “Next year is a different story. We took every room that we had this year,” he added, noting that the school would likely face the same 75-seat cap on its kindergarten class for the 2012-13 school year.

Though an extension was recently constructed and opened, the student population at P.S./I.S. 49 has reportedly exceeded projections made during the planning of the project, according to a spokesperson for Crowley. More students have enrolled at the school in recent years due to a number of factors, including the recession that made private school unaffordable for some families.

Under the kindergarten cap plan initially put forth by education officials, kindergarten students living with P.S./I.S. 49’s zone (which encompasses an area of Middle Village bounded on the north by the Queens- Midtown Expressway and Eliot Avenue, on the west by 71st Street, Juniper Boulevard South and 74th Street, on the south by Juniper Valley Road, 80th Street and Furmanville Avenue and on the west by Woodhaven Boulevard and the Long Island Rail Road Main line) who have siblings attending the school were to have first priority, followed by incoming kindergarteners who live within the zone but do not have siblings enrolled at P.S./I.S. 49.

Thereafter, students living outside of P.S./I.S. 49’s zone who have brothers and/or sisters attending the school were to enrolled into the kindergarten class.

The DOE had proposed sending those pre-registered students who are not seated at P.S./I.S. 49 to P.S./I.S. 119 in Glendale, which will accept its first kindergarten classes in September. The agency recently approved the grade expansion of the Glendale institution from an intermediate school for students in grades six through eight to a full elementary school.

As part of the plan, the DOE informed parents that it would bus the kindergarteners between their homes and P.S./I.S. 119 each day.

The Times Newsweekly reached out to the DOE for comment, but none was provided before press time Wednesday morning.