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Parents fear crowding as city eyes PS 21 space

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Parents were outraged when they learned that the Department of Education was looking at additional space that may be available at the school, which is among the top schools in the borough, as a target for the city's effort to alleviate overcrowding."Whatever is going on right now is working well for our school and we want to keep it that way," Parent Laura DelGrecco said.DOE spokeswoman Melody Meyer said the letter, sent to PS 21 Principal Debbie Buszko, was one of many sent out to principals across the borough to analyze what space may be available to alleviate overcrowding in schools elsewhere. Meyer emphasized that the letter was strictly preliminary and no final determination has been made about PS 21 or any of the other schools that received the correspondence."The letter was sent specifically to get feedback from the principal," Meyer said. She said a decision is probably not going to be made on any school until early February. DelGrecco said parents are concerned that adding a new program and new students to the school, located at 147-36 26th Ave., would steal seats away from children in the neighborhood and bring the overall quality of the school down. "Bringing more students into the school will make it worse for our students," Delgrecco said. Delgrecco pointed out that the school recently received an "A" in the city's school progress reports and had the second highest score of all Queens schools graded."We don't want that to be brought down. We want to build on that," she said. State Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Whitestone) and City Councilman John Liu (D-Flushing) attended a Parent Teacher Association meeting last week and said they would work to address the concerns of the parents at the school. "I think the parents have every right to be concerned. I as a parent certainly would be, too," Liu said. Liu said it is too early to jump the gun and outright pan the idea, however."Depending on what it is, the addition of a new program could be potentially beneficial," he said.Stavisky, meanwhile, said any changes to the school that are made must not affect its current success."If they decide to put in a program, and I hope they do not, we want to make sure it will integrate properly into the rest of the school. It doesn't take a genius to know why they're doing so well," she said. "We should let them continue to flourish." Reach reporter Stephen Stirling by e-mail at Sstirling@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.

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