Community members brought concerns for a panel of representatives from the city's departments of Transportation, Buildings, Health, Education and Sanitation.
While topics ranged from natural gas drilling to poor bus service, several residents pointed out their concerns with the education system in the neighborhood.
Alan Ong, PTA president of PS 173, discussed funding. He said the group already raised enough money for new Smart Boards, but the school infrastructure can't support the new technology.
“The PTA raised a lot of money to give the technology to the school, but the electricity is not sufficient,” he said. “Spring is here, asthma is up, so what do you do? Do you turn on the AC or do you leave the AC off and bring the Smart Board up?”
Avella agreed that measures should be taken to repair the electricity at the school, however his seat in the Senate does not grant the necessary power.
“Unfortunately in the State Senate I have no discretionary funding, but when I was in the City Council, all my discretionary money and my capital money went to schools and seniors,” Avella, who is also a candidate for Queens borough preisdent, said after the meeting. “It’s a shame they don’t have the resources and these are the things the borough president should be doing.”
One woman mentioned there were no “good small schools” being built in the neighborhood.
“The larger schools are becoming so overcrowded around here it’s ridiculous,” she said.
Rozic agreed there needs to be more attention on overcrowding in the area, and that measures are being taken to remedy the issue.
“There is a need in District 26 for a new high school, and I have been talking about it at every meeting for the last four months,” Rozic said. “We will keep you posted on what happens and we will work with the DOE because I agree we need more schools.”
James Dandeneau, Queens borough public affairs director for the Department of Education, acknowledged the problem with overcrowding and assured there is a solution on the way.
“In the latest capital plan update, I think there is an identified need for additional high school seats in this neighborhood,” Dandenueau said. “Part of the problem is finding space.”
He did acknowledge there is a need for more attention to education in Fresh Meadows, but added,” there are some fantastic schools around here.”