Today’s news:

PS 176 seeks sponsor for Beacon program

The president of the PTA at PS 176 in Cambria Heights is appealing to the community in hopes of finding a corporation to sponsor an after−school program at the school after the school’s Beacon program is relocating in the summer.

Cheryl Caddle, the PTA president, said the Beacon program will not be able to continue at the school in September.

Beacons are based in city schools and act as community centers that provide a variety of programs for youth, including tutoring, martial arts instruction, chess, basketball and literacy activities. Some beacons also have programs for adults.

PS 176 Principal Arlene Bartlett could not be reached for comment.

“There are a lot of kids who probably wouldn’t have a place to go,” Caddle said.

But Ryan Dodge, the deputy chief of staff for the city Department of Youth and Community Development, which oversees Beacon programs, said the Beacon will operate in Cambria Heights in September but at a different school, MS 147.

Dodge said the organization running the PS 176 Beacon, Federation Employment and Guidance Services, told the agency in December that it would be withdrawing its contracts to operate a Beacon in Far Rockaway and the PS 176 site effective Aug. 31.

After that date, the Beacon will be relocated to nearby MS 147, Dodge said.

The agency is releasing a request for proposals next week in an attempt to find qualified community−based organizations to operate the city’s Beacons.

Jamal Wilkerson, an aide to City Councilman Leroy Comrie (D−St. Albans), said Comrie wrote a letter to the city saying he wanted the Beacon program to stay at the school.

If it is not possible for the Beacon program to remain at PS 147, Caddle said she still wants to see a similar after−school program instituted at the Cambria Heights elementary school.

“Even if we don’t have a Beacon program, I’d like a program to stay,” she said.

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e−mail at hkoplowitz@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 173.

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