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Community Board 11 members voted unanimously this week in favor of a resolution that called for building capacity limitations on the number of students at district schools as well as the creation of another high school in Bayside.
Laura James, co-chairwoman of the board’s Education Committee, said Bayside, Francis Lewis and Benjamin N. Cardozo high schools were overcrowded at potentially dangerous levels.
“It causes health and safety issues and also has a negative impact on education,” she said, reading from a resolution the board unanimously passed Monday at its monthly meeting.
The resolution called for a cap on the number of students allowed to occupy a high school building and recommended the city build a new school for Bayside students to alleviate overcrowding.
CB 11 Chairman Jerry Iannece said Francis Lewis, for example, was operating at double capacity.
“We have the three most overcrowded schools in Queens County,” he said. “A lot of people come from other areas and saturate our schools, depriving our kids of seats.”
Some board members said they were concerned a recent proposal to shutter Jamaica High School next fall could result in an influx of students from outside the district coming into Bayside’s already crowded high schools.
“If Jamaica High School closes, students will be applying to Cardozo, Bayside High School and Francis Lewis,” said Rob Caloras, president of Community District Education Council 26.
The phase-out of the school has been proposed due to poor performance and low graduation rates, a DOE spokesman said.
Iannece said Bayside’s schools were popular because they consistently rank among the city’s finest and that students from Jamaica High School will likely make District 26 and District 27 sites their first choice if their own school closes.
“They’ll want to go to a good high school,” he said. “So, I think we’ll have more problems.”
Francis Lewis High School is located at 58-20 Utopia Pkwy., while Bayside High School is at 32-24 Corporal Kennedy St. and Benjamin N. Cardozo High School is at 57-00 223rd St.
Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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