The city Department of Education is planning to create two new schools in District 27 within the next five years, an official with the DOE’s School Construction Authority told Community District Education Council 27 Monday.
Mary Leas, the deputy facilities manager for the SCA’s Queens Integrated Service Center, said the schools would help alleviate overcrowding in the district, which covers Ozone Park, South Ozone Park, Howard Beach, Woodhaven and the Rockaways.
During her presentation on the DOE’s five−year capital plan that runs from 2010−14, Leas said the new schools would create 951 more seats in the district.
“That will take care of the capacity needs as they exist for District 27,” Leas said.
She said the DOE is looking for sites in Ozone Park, South Ozone Park, Richmond Hill and Woodhaven for the two schools, which she said are planned to be K−8 schools.
“What we need is about 40,000 square feet” to build each school, Leas said, noting that the agency has hired a realtor to find sites.
But some CDEC 27 members argued that the schools should be built in the Rockaways, where they said there is more of a need for schools because of the thousands of housing units sold at Arverne by the Sea and Arverne East.
David Hooks, a CDEC 27 member, said besides the new developments, special needs children on the peninsula are bused out of the Rockaways to attend classes because there are no facilities.
“I think that’s criminal and I think the Department of Education should be ashamed of themselves,” Hooks said.
He identified a site across the street from St. John’s Hospital in Far Rockaway as one that is ideal to build a school because he said the property is owned by the city.
“Here’s a facility,” Hooks said.
But Leas said the reason why the SCA is looking for sites on the mainland was because “that’s where the overcrowded schools are.”
The new schools will be two of 42 being planned by the DOE, Leas said, which would add 25,000 more seats.
Leas went over the current five−year capital plan, which runs through 2009, that she said included more than $160 million in projects for the district. Those projects included three science labs, four electrical jobs and 20 building envelopes that renovated the exteriors of schools in the district.
Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e−mail at hkoplowitz
©2008 Community News Group
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