Today’s news:

Forest Hills school set to open in fall

A report on new schools which are to open in the fall released last month by the city Department of Education listed the red brick building at 108-55 69th Ave. in Forest Hills as a facility for pre-kindergarten through grade 3 students. City Councilwoman Melinda Katz (D-Forest Hills) and local community leaders sought to make the vacant building a locally zoned middle school for grades 6 through 8 because Stephen Halsey (JHS 157) and Russell Sage (JHS 190), the local junior high school choices, both are overcrowded.Currently, Forest Hills and Rego Park have two elementary schools, PS 196 and PS 206 which funnel students into the two junior high schools.Parents at several rallies in 2006 and 2007 complained that they moved to Forest Hills for the good elementary schools in the neighborhood, but expected to move out of the district or even the borough because their choices for middle schools in the area are so limited. The DOE's 2003 capital plan allotted $67 million for some 800 seats to be built on the PS 3 site, but it is unclear whether the school opening in September is expected to accommodate that many students.The new school to be located within the building will be called the Academy for Excellence Through the Arts, according to the DOE. The report said it is still to be determined which grades will be served in September, so it is unclear whether the school will accommodate all five grade levels or will phase them in one year at a time.Reach reporter Alex Christodoulides by e-mail at or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 155.

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