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Institution in Bayside should service neighborhood kids before any others

PS 130, on the corner of Francis Lewis Boulevard and 42nd Avenue in Bayside, is a K-8 elementary school specializing in science and technology. The school is geographically located in District 26, but the school serves District 25 students who are bused in while local students are bused to various crowded elementary schools in District 26.

Historically, the school served local students, but many years ago, in a political decision, the school was closed to neighborhood children. For a long time, community groups and local residents such as myself have been lobbying to ensure that local students have first priority in attending this school. We have had the support of many of our elected officials. Local students are allowed to attend PS 130 only if there is room after District 25 students get first dibs at available seats. Then the locals have to go through a lottery system to gain admission.

I recently attended the open house at PS 130 and was told that this school year all students who applied from District 26 were accepted into the school. This is a positive step forward, but why should local children have to stand in line to attend their neighborhood school? It is outrageous and it is time local children living within walking distance of this building be given first priority placement to attend this school.

If there is then room for other students from District 25 or wherever, then they should compete for the remaining seats. The program for children with special needs on the first floor of this school should remain there. It is a terrific program.

When you consider the cost of busing children in from District 25 to PS 130 and busing local students to other schools, it just does not make sense in these economically difficult times. During this cold and snowy winter, I see children in my neighborhood, which is within easy walking distance to PS 130, standing on street corners in the early morning hours waiting for their bus to come. It certainly is not fair or pleasant for them or their parents.

I learned at the open house that the deadline to hand in applications to attend this school in the fall is March 4. I would urge all parents who live near this school and who have children entering grades K-8 in September to look into this program. If this is something that they feel would be beneficial for their child, they should file an application to attend the school. Also remember to file for your zoned school in case your child is not accepted into PS 130.

It is not anyone’s intention to disrupt the education of the District 25 children currently attending PS 130. But there must be a change in determining which students get priority to attend the school. Even if this takes several years to implement, the school should return to servicing neighborhood children first.

Henry Euler

Bayside

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