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Principals and parents complained of cramped, poorly ventilated conditions at northeastern Queens schools last week during Community District Education Council 26’s monthly meeting.
The meeting’s attendees told the council and city School Construction Authority representatives that children in the district suffer in overheated classrooms that are operating over capacity. Council members said that at least 20 regional schools needed to have their electrical systems upgraded.
“I have sent kids who have passed out to the hospital in an ambulance,” said Jeffrey Slivko, principal of Floral Park’s MS 172. “We need to give kids a learning environment.”
Slivko urged SCA members to attend classes during summer school to see if they could concentrate in the building’s overheated classrooms.
Parent Gwen Sacks said she has long complained about poor ventilation during the summer at PS 26 in Fresh Meadows, where her son attends school.
“The kids can’t function because the heat is unbearable,” she said. “I won’t sugarcoat it. It’s disgusting and not an environment conducive to learning. It breaks my heart.”
The council, which promotes educational standards in the district and acts as a liaison with the city Department of Education, covers 31 schools in Bayside, Floral Park, Little Neck, Flushing, Queens Village, Fresh Meadows, Bellerose, Glen Oaks and Douglaston.
SCA representatives at the meeting unveiled proposed upgrades for the district in the DOE’s capital budget plan for 2010−14.
Monica Gutierrez, an SCA spokeswoman, said the capital budget allows for the electrical upgrade of one unspecified district school as well as the creation of a new 416−seat intermediate school for Bayside and Auburndale at a site yet to be determined.
A total of 441 seats would also be added in the district, including 88 new seats at Little Neck’s PS 94 annex, 211 seats at Bayside’s American Martyrs Elementary School and 142 seats at schools yet to be determined, said Marian Mason, administrative assistant for the council.
But Robert Caloras, president of the council, said the city needed to do more to prevent overcrowding in the district’s high schools.
“We are desperate for high school space,” he said. “There are 13,000 high school students between [Bayside’s] Benjamin Cardozo High School and Jamaica High School. That’s a couple of miles apart. I’m appalled there is nothing in the capital plan to alleviate overcrowding.”
Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e−mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 156.
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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