The school, which is slated to be constructed at a site already purchased at 222-22 Jamaica Ave., was not originally in the mayor's proposal unveiled in November but was included after recent changes.
"We're glad to have it back on and we'll make sure the promise is kept to keep it on," said Nat Washington, president of School Board 29, which covers Queens Village, Hollis and parts of Fresh Meadows, Rosedale, Jamaica and Laurelton.
Washington said the site was home to a Ford dealership before being purchased by the city two years ago following a search by the school district for an appropriate location. Construction of the school building was then delayed by the city Department of Education, Washington said, before the school felt the ax of Bloomberg's first budget cuts.
"We were all asked to wait," Washington said. "That's why we were all up in arms when it was not put in the budget a few years ago."
The Panel for Educational Policy, which is the replacement for the Board of Education, voted on the mayor's new proposal Monday night, Washington said. The result of that vote could not be determined, and the Department of Education did not return calls seeking comment.
If approved by the panel, the plan still hinges on $6.5 billion in additional aid for citywide school construction. The New York Times reported. The plan is estimated at $13.1 billion, the paper said.
Washington said the design for the school is already completed and that the facility was needed soon to alleviate overcrowding in District 29. A report issued by Borough President Helen Marshall states that District 29 has the second-greatest need for more seats in Queens behind District 24.
Washington said he was eagerly awaiting the extra capacity.
"It should be the first one to break ground," he said of PS 263.
Reach reporter Michael Morton by e-mail at news@times
©2004 Community News Group
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