City Council Approves Maspeth High School
by Daniel Bush
Apr 07, 2009 | 3427 views | 2 2 comments | 107 107 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The City Council approved plans April 2 to build a 1,100-seat high school in Maspeth.

The council voted 38-10 in favor of the plan for the school, slated for a site on 58th Avenue and 74th Street. Three council members were absent and did not vote.

The vote, which came at a stated council meeting, ends a long period of debate between the Department of Education (DOE) and Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley who, along with Maspeth community leaders, have steadfastly called for the school to be locally zoned.

The DOE proposal approved by the City Council does not include a local zoning provision to give Maspeth teens enrollment priority. The school will, however, give first dibs to students in School District 24, which encompasses several neighborhoods including Maspeth.

In a statement, DOE spokesman Will Havemann said the department was pleased with the City Council vote and looked forward to building the school. Havemann said with the addition of the school Mayor Bloomberg will have created nearly 10,000 seats in Queens under the current capital plan, which ends this summer.

"We're confident the school will be a great option for high school students in Maspeth and District 24," said Havemann, "and that it will go a long way to reduce the overcrowding currently facing many Queens high schools."

Her district does need a new school, said Crowley, but she criticized the DOE for pushing through a plan that did not receive support from residents of Maspeth.

"Let me be clear, I want a school in Maspeth, but I cannot agree with this plan," Crowley said in a statement after voting against the proposal, which drew no votes from nine other council members, including councilmen Tony Avella and Peter Vallone.

"As the plan stands now it does not have the approval of the Community Education Council, it does not have the approval of the community board, [and] it does not have the approval of the local civic association," Crowley said.

In conceding the vote, Crowley, a vocal critic of the DOE's citing and zoning policies since taking office this year, thanked other city officials for working unusually long on the project. Twice the City Council and DOE agreed to extend the review process to allow for more community input on the project. But several community leaders said the DOE was never interested in listening to them, or in changing their plans to suit the neighborhood's needs.

Response to the City Council vote was overwhelmingly negative.

"It just goes to show that they're not paying attention to local problems," said Community Board 5 Chairman Vincent Arcuri. He said in the long run the school would likely do little to alleviate school overcrowding in Queens. "The DOE has this attitude that they don't listen and they're consistently wrong."

Kathy Masi, president of the Glendale Civic Association, said DOE’s decision to go forward without a local zoning provision for Maspeth students was beyond comprehension.

Community Board 5 District Manager Gary Giordano said the department never once contacted CB5 during the review process, though the School Construction Authority did. He said in recent years it has become harder than ever to communicate with DOE.

"They don't communicate," Giordano said. "They dictate."
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liz sucks
April 19, 2009
please enough with this loser of a council person she has no back bone. she wants a school get real lizzy, build it near your home. sick of her and all the liars on the council. we need to get rid of them all and including the mayor and his side kick quinn. dist. 24 is overcrowded oh well build the schools in corona for the illegals, they gave them workshop for their rights as day laborers.
liz sucks
April 19, 2009