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Comrie seeks alternate sites for new school

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While the city waits for the final approval to move a new all-boys school into a Springfield Gardens middle school, city Councilman Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans) said he has asked the school’s chancellor to consider some other spaces he claims would be perfect for the community’s needs.

Comrie toured three spaces in southeast Queens Monday and Tuesday to house the 500 middle- and high-school students of the Eagle Academy. The city Department of Education has proposed opening the school inside IS 59, at 132-55 Ridgedale St., because it has a 600-seat vacancy.

But since the city Panel for Educational Policy was forced to reschedule the vote on the proposal last week, Comrie said the delay in action should be used to explore other opportunities.

“I think that gives us more time to sit down and talk with the Department of Education,” he said.

Although parents would like to have Eagle Academy, which has other institutions in Brooklyn and the Bronx, they have not been keen on its placement inside IS 59 because they do not want overcrowding and a mix between the co-ed middle-school students and the all-boys Eagle students, according to Comrie.

The councilman said he visited the sites of shuttered private schools in the area, including St. Gerard Majella at 188-04 91st Ave. in Hollis, Dominican Commercial High School at 161-06 89th Ave. in Jamaica and Holy Trinity School at 90-20 191st St. in Hollis.

Comrie said he was planning on e-mailing city Schools Chancellor Joel Klein and Deputy Mayor Dennis Walcott about the alternate sites.

“The city has had relationships with the Catholic diocese already for taking over their schools for public schools,” he said.

Despite Comrie’s research and proposal, DOE spokesman Danny Kanner said the city is committed to putting Eagle in IS 59.

“We studied a number of options and determined for a number of reasons IS 59 was the best location for Eagle Academy,” he said.

The vote for the school’s placement was scheduled to take place Feb. 26, but three of the panel’s 13 members — the ones appointed by the Staten Island and Brooklyn borough presidents and one of the mayor’s appointees — were not present for the meeting.

Six members of the panel, all Bloomberg appointees, voted in favor of placing the school in IS 59, while the Queens, Bronx and Manhattan representatives rejected the proposal, according to the DOE. One of the mayor’s appointees abstained from the vote.

Since there was no majority vote, the panel did not take any action and will vote again at a undetermined time in the future, a DOE spokesman said.

Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at ipereira@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4546.

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