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Lack of funds may delay boro school construction

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Queens’ hard-won December victory to proceed with its school construction projects could evaporate if Mayor Michael Bloomberg forces the city Board of Education to cut its budget by more than 20 percent.

But if the board has no choice but to delay building projects, the Board of Ed member from Queens said this week the city could lose reimbursement funds from the state.

Last summer a major budget gap of $2.3 billion in the Board of Ed’s five-year school construction plan was made public, and the board scrambled to recover the funds. With the city’s most overcrowded classrooms, Queens had dominated the plan with 19 schools on the drawing board to be built.

A close, highly political December vote by the Board of Education to amend the city’s five-year school construction plan gave the borough a reprieve, with 14 of the 19 Queens school projects allowed to proceed.

But a Jan. 22 memo from the Board of Ed’s chief financial officer to the mayor’s office said deferring all but three Queens projects slated for 2002 could be a way for the board to save money and meet

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