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The city Department of Education issued a proposal to temporarily house one grade of a new Maspeth high school in Forest Hills, but not everyone in the neighborhood will welcome the potential guests.
The school, called 24Q585 until it is named, is currently under construction at 54-40 74th St. in Maspeth and slated for completion in September 2012. But according to the department, temporarily housing grade 9 of the school at the Metropolitan campus at 91-30 Metropolitan Ave. would allow it to get its enrollment numbers up a full year ahead of schedule.
“By making a temporary allocation of underutilized space in Q686 (Metropolitan High School), 24Q585 can begin serving students a year earlier than would be possible were we to wait for the completion of [the school],” according to the proposal.
And that is because one of the schools housed in the Metropolitan High School building is new as well.
When a school begins, it usually only opens with one grade, according to Nick Comaianni, president of Community Education Council 24, where the Maspeth school will be located.
“In the studies that [the department] has done, a school is more successful when you build it up,” he said. “For a high school, usually you want to start with grade 9, that way a vision for how the school should be run can be implemented from the start.”
Then the school would add another grade every year, with the ninth-grade students moving up to 10th and a new ninth-grade class coming in the next year.
Metropolitan High School currently has only a ninth-grade and another school housed in the complex, Metropolitan Expeditionary, has only a sixth- and seventh-grade. Next year each would gain a grade. P233, the third school currently in the building, has grades 6 to 12.
In an educational impact study, the department said students currently at the Forest Hills location would not be affected by the Maspeth students.
According to the study, the Metropolitan High School building, which houses three other schools, is at 35 percent of its target capacity for the 2010-11 school year. If the school incubation is completed, in the 2011-12 school year, the building will be at 72 percent capacity.
The proposal said excess room would be available, yet the four schools would share a cafeteria, two gymnasiums and a library.
“I am very concerned about the impact that the proposed incubation of the Maspeth high school will have on the Metropolitan Avenue campus,” said City Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz (D-Forest Hills) in a statement. “It took 18 years to get the Metropolitan campus up and running and I will not allow the wonderful progress made this year to be derailed by poor planning and decision-making regarding incubation.”
The department said that should any extension be required beyond the September 2012 deadline, a separate proposal and educational impact study would be written.
The proposal will be considered March 1 at a meeting in Brooklyn.
“I’m really looking forward to listening to the hearing,” Comaianni said. “I’m curious as to how exactly they intend to do it.”
Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4566.
©2011 Community Newspaper Group
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