Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Local Officials Press Black On New School At Metro Campus by Matt Hampton - Forest Hills, NY Patch

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Maspeth High School's incubation needs better planning, politicians say.

Upset about the incubation of a new Maspeth High School at the Metropolitan Educational Campus? 

You're not alone, City Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz, D-Forest Hills, and Elizabeth Crowlet and Assemblyman Mike Miller and Andrew Hevesi are outraged, as well.

Koslowitz sent a letter to Schools Chancellor Cathie Black earlier this month, co-signed by Crowley, Miller and Hevesi, and recently released the text of that letter to the public.

The Department of Education announced earlier this year that a new school being built for Maspeth students would required a Queens building to house students during the 2011-12 school year. That building, they concluded, would be the Metropolitan Educational Campus, based on the fact that it is currently underutilized, and not scheduled to have a full student complement until the 2013 school year. While the site of the incubation is not set it stone — it is to be voted on March 1 by the Panel For Education Policy — the location is not likely to change.

The idea had many parents upset, and local officials sent the letter on Feb. 1 as a reaction.
In it, the elected officials say they are thrilled that the campus opened this year — a process that took nearly two decades — but, they caution, their excitement is tempered by the fact that students at the building will now be forced to share with students from a Maspeth School that’s still under construction.
Ultimately, Koslowitz and the other electeds are seeking a written statement from the Department of Education that the arrangement will only be for one school year. It’s a request that has so far not gotten a response from the Department of Education.
We are requesting in writing a commitment from the DOE that these students will be moved to their new building after the 2011/2012 school year,” the letter read. “Assuring that the schools coexist smoothly is of primary concern to us, the parents and the community.”
Among other issues that Koslowitz, Hevesi, Miller and Crowley cite are the problematic scheduling of shared spaces, like the school’s auditorium, gymnasium and lunchrooms, and the current educational culture. The schools that are currently on site have wildly different educational curriculuae.
We are concerned that the placement of the Maspeth School in the building does not disturb the culture of the existing students,” the letter read. “To date, we have received no plan regarding the usage of space between the three schools, the need for improvements to MTA bus access to the area, arrival and dismissal times among many other issues.”