“Basically what’s up in the air right now is, we’re not sure exactly how it will be formulated,” said Nick Comaianni, president of Community Education Council District 24. “[IS]73 has a mini building in its school yard, so it has a stand-alone building, and what we were looking at, since 73 is underutilized at this time, there seems to be enough seats to alleviate crowding somewhere else,”
Comaianni said the new school would accept approximately 400 students in grades K-5. The building would only require slight retrofitting to accommodate the kindergarten classes, which generally have restrooms in the classrooms.
“There’s definitely quite a few more steps to go, the most important one obviously, we want community and public input…[but] it’s something they don’t have to wait four years for,” Comaianni added. “It could give immediate relief - if it works out - in September.”
Reactions to the idea of placing an elementary school on the campus of a junior high school were mixed.
“I don’t think it’s a good idea,” said Monika Reichert, whose daughter is in the 4th grade at P.S. 58. “The teens, I don’t think they have respect for the little kids. I see the teens hugging and kissing on the street; my daughter doesn’t need to see that.”
Elizabeth Burke, parent of a pre-schooler at Maspeth Town Hall, sent her older children to parochial school because she likes that the older students get to interact with the younger ones.
“I prefer that they start in the school and through the 8th grade,” she said. “There’s no interruption for junior high school, which is only two years.”
However, she is uncomfortable with the fact that I.S. 73 is required to accept students from outside the school district.
“There’s more of a vested interest in the community when a family is from the community,” said Burke. “I want to know the parents of the kids my kids interact with.”
Comaianni emphasized that CEC 24, which has the power to rezone schools, will vote to keep the new school locally zoned.
“I think it’s definitely a lot better for the community and the school because you’ll have local kids right from the immediate local area,” said Comaianni. He added, “[IS]73’s still going to be there in the middle school. Nothing is changing, you’re just going to get some local kids from the area which are kindergarten age.”
He mapped out the next few steps of the plan. An impact statement will be presented and enrollment statistics in the area will be analyzed. A zone will be created and presented to the CEC, which will vote on the zoning, and public hearings will be held to get input from the community and impacted schools.