Crowded boro gets 15,676 school seats

City School Construction Authority President Lorraine Grillo (r.) talks about funding for thousands of new Queens seats at a Borough Board meeting headed by Borough President Helen Marshall (c.). Photo by Rebecca Henely
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City School Construction Authority President Lorraine Grillo told a Borough Board meeting Monday that more than 15,676 new school seats for Queens have funding, but the organization is still looking for sites to put them and has a need for 6,380 more.

“The situation in Queens, as you know, is dire,” Grillo said. “We have more kids than any other borough and we have more need than any other borough.”

Grillo updated Borough President Helen Marshall and members of the Queens Borough Board during a presentation on an amendment to the SCA’s capital plan for fiscal years 2010-14. This plan adds almost 5,000 new school seats citywide through $50 million formerly allocated for finding replacement locations for schools reaching the end of their leases.

The capital plan adds school seats to every district in Queens, with the most by far going to District 24, the most crowded school district in the entire city, which encompasses the neighborhoods of Maspeth, Ridgewood, Middle Village, Glendale, Sunnyside, Elmhurst and parts of Woodside, Jackson Heights and Corona.

SCA has funding for 5,191 seats for six schools and one school addition in the neighborhoods as well as three other projects that do not have locations. The district still needs funds for 1,905 seats.

District 30, another crowded district that includes Astoria, Long Island City, East Elmhurst and parts of Jackson Heights, Corona and Woodside, has 2,963 funded seats across three new schools, one addition and three projects that do not yet have a location.

Some of these seats have already been used through PS 280, formerly a Catholic school called Blessed Sacrament, which has been adding seats every year. The district needs funding for 1,378 seats.

The borough’s high schools also have a great need for seats. SCA plans to add 1,473 seats at IS/HS 404, a middle/high school in Long Island City, and an annex to Richmond Hill High School, and also has funds for 2,283 seats that do not yet have a location.

District 25, which encompasses Flushing, College Point, Bay Terrace, Murray Hill, Beechhurst, Willets Point, Queensboro Hill, Kew Gardens Hills and Pomonok, has funding for 1,720 seats, although only 232 of them have a location: an addition to PS 29. The rest will be in three separate projects. The district needs 1,201 additional seats for which the SCA does not have funding.

The children of Rego Park, Forest Hills, Kew Gardens, Jamaica, Briarwood and Springfield Gardens will be getting another 833 seats at PS/IS 314, but District 28 still needs a spot for 350 funded seats and has 812 that need funds.

District 29, which encompasses Queens Village, Cambria Heights, St. Albans, Laurelton, Brookdale, Rosedale and parts of Jamaica Estates, has funds for 1,088 seats. Of these, 379 will be in the new PS 334 and the rest will be spread out between two projects without a location. The district needs funding for another 1,084 seats.

The other remaining districts have full funding for their new seats, although not all of them have sites. District 27, which encompasses Howard Beach, Linwood, Ozone Park, South Ozone Park, Richmond Hill, Woodhaven, Broad Channel and the Rockaways, has funding for 832 seats, split evenly between the new PS 316 and a project set for the Howard Beach-Linwood area without a site.

District 26, which includes Bayside, Little Neck and Douglaston and is the highest performing district in the city, has funding for 416 new seats, but those seats do not have a site.

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at rhenely@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.

Posted 10:21 am, June 14, 2012
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