8 The QUEE NS Courier • june 27, 2013 for breaking news visit www.queenscourier.com ▶school news WALCOTT ADDRESSED OVERCROWDING IN CORONA SCHOOL BY LIAM LA GUERE Parents and teachers at P.S. 143, the Louis Armstrong School, are overwhelmed by overcrowding and are clamoring for a solution. Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott addressed the issue in a tense June 24 meeting in which parents and school officials were fuming over the two-decade-long problem. The Corona elementary school has a capacity of 900 students, yet 1,780 students are currently enrolled, according to school officials. In front of the main building on 34th Avenue between 112th and 113th Streets, there are four large, trailer-like classrooms. “If they build a building outside for us, it will alleviate the overcrowding in here,” said Alma Salgado, president of the P.S. 143 Parent Teacher Association. However, Walcott was cautious about such an approach. “As soon as we build, we need to build more in district 24,” he said. Parents said that the overcrowding has led to classrooms with 30 and sometimes more students. Some students have to eat lunch as early as 9:30 a.m., while others have classes in the cafeteria because of scheduling conflicts. “It’s a hurdle that we have to jump over,” said first-year principal Jerry Brito. “It is obviously an issue we have to be aware of, because it does make it harder for us to run things.” To address the overcrowding, the Department of Education leased space owned by a Greek Orthodox church on 38th Avenue. The site, about a dozen blocks away from P.S. 143, has accommodated 250 students. The agreement was extended through the 2013-2014 school year. However, the property’s owners do not want to renew the lease for the 2014-2015 school year. Before he left the meeting, Walcott said he will continue to look for a solution. He added that in three weeks, he will send an update to the school administrators to relay to parents. Crowded ‘Campus’ BY MAGIE HAYES firstname.lastname@example.org Parents and students worry that adding another school to Cambria Heights’ Campus Magnet High School could crowd artistic minds. The high school is home to four separate schools, all geared towards enhancing students’ artistic and professional ambitions. There is the Humanities and Arts Magnet High School; Law-Government High School; Business, Computer Applications and Entrepreneurship (BCAE) High School and a Mathematics, Science, Research and Technology High School. “It can get crowded in there,” said one sophomore student. “Sometimes it’s hard to walk through the halls.” Each school has a population of roughly 400, said Dmytro Fedkowskyj, Queens representative on the Department of Education (DOE) Panel for Educational Policy. This coming fall, BCAE and Law-Government will start to be phased out, and a fifth school will be added to the building. However, proposals for a sixth school to be added September 2014 has the community concerned about crowding. The Panel for Educational Policy was set to vote on the addition of a sixth school in their June meeting, but tabled the matter until October. Parents are reportedly attempting to block the plan to put in a new school and Fedkowskyj said groups at Campus Magnet proposed ideas to instead increase enrollment in the existing schools. “It’s something the building desired and the counsel could work with,” he said. The increased-enrollment proposal could theoretically give schools more opportunities to offer more programs for its students and also eliminate the administration fee of adding another principal and teachers to run another school. “Adding another school and another administration is a lot of work,” Fedkowskyj said. “Principals have enough on their plate to deal with educational matters, they don’t need to deal with programming matters, too.” “I guess it’s hard to say what the DOE will do,” he added. “The engagement they’ll make with the community will hopefully benefit the community and give them what they want.” DOE says enrollment cuts reflect trend at LIC HS BY ANGY ALTAMIRANO email@example.com The Department of Education (DOE) has come under harsh criticism from members of Long Island City High School after announcing plans to cut enrollment. According to Ken Achiron, United Federation of Teachers (UFT) chapter leader at LIC High School, the DOE plans to cut the incoming ninth grade class from 1,000 to 440 students. He added the plan would entail $3 million in cuts to the school’s budget and the loss of 30 staff members. “They have capped our incoming class below the numbers needed to maintain our quality programs,” said Achiron. “The budget will hurt all grades, including seniors who expected courses to be available when they were scheduled to take them.” The high school was in danger of closing last year when officials put it on a turnaround list alongside Flushing High School and 22 other city schools. Members of the LIC High School community believe the planned cut in enrollment is an attempt to close the school through other methods. “It’s a good school, it’s a proficient school. They are doing very well and they survived the turnaround,” said James Vasquez, UFT representative for Queens high schools. “This isn’t about teachers losing their jobs; the issue is what it does to that school community. What’s happening here is the destruction of the school community.” Yet, according to the DOE, the enrollment cuts are only a response to what has already been occurring at the school for years. “Since 2007-2008, we have seen a 34 percent decrease in ninth grade enrollment and we’re expecting further drops next year,” said DOE spokesperson Devon Puglia. “That’s as neighborhood parents have clamored for new, smaller, high-performing school options.” The reduction would not be expected to take place until the 2014-2015 school year. LIC High School will have around 2,000 students after the decrease. “An enrollment reduction would reflect what’s already occurring: lower parent demand for Long Island City High School and higher demand for alternatives,” said Puglia. The DOE said it has been in communication with the community and that it might open a new school with a smaller student body. The department added that such a center would likely be a career and technical education school in the LIC High School building.
To see the actual publication please follow the link above