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School Dist. 26 parents to pick PS 94 or PS 98

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By Kathianne Boniello

Parents in Little Neck will have the opportunity to speak their mind about a new School District 26 proposal that would allow them to send their children to PS 98 in Douglaston instead of the more overcrowded PS 94 at public hearing Thursday.

The hearing, to be held at 8 p.m. Thursday at MS 74 in Bayside, will focus on what School District 26 Deputy Superintendent Anita Saunders called an option to allow parents to send their kids to the less crowded PS 98.

“There have been requests by parents over the years” for the option, Saunders said. “There is room at PS 98, and there are people for whom it would be a viable thing to do.”

According to figures compiled in the fall of the 2000-2001 school year, PS 94 at 41-77 Little Neck Parkway was at 136 percent capacity while PS 98 at 40-20 235 St. was operating at 81 percent capacity. Both schools have classes for kindergarten through fifth grade.

School overcrowding has crippled education throughout the borough and forced Queens children to take their classes in hallways, closets, gyms and transportable trailers. Within the next 10 years the northeast Queens School District 26 is expected to be the second most overcrowded district in the borough.

School District 26 includes schools in Bayside, Little Neck, Douglaston, Oakland Gardens, Glen Oaks and parts of Auburndale, Flushing, Bellerose and Fresh Meadows.

Saunders said the differences in population at PS 94 and PS 98, which are only a couple of miles apart, illustrate how difficult it is to anticipate the changes a district’s population will undergo over the years.

“It goes through cycles,” Saunders said. “It’s hard to predict.”

Students who switch from PS 94 to PS 98 would attend the Douglaston school until graduation, Saunders said.

As an example, Saunders said, when PS 188 and PS 205 were built — two schools that are relatively close to each other in southern Bayside — the school population at the time dictated the need for a pair of schools in that area.

The fall 2000 figures show that now both PS 188 and PS 205 are operating at 90 percent capacity.

The public hearing was scheduled to be held at MS 74 at 61-15 Oceania St. in Bayside at 8 p.m. For more information or to speak at the meeting call School Board 26 at 631-6927.

Reach reporter Kathianne Boniello by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 146.

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