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Parents want PS 78 in LIC to stay open

TimesLedger Newspapers

Community District Education Council 30 held a meeting on the upcoming middle and high school to be built in Hunters Point, but many of the parents of younger children were more concerned about the future of PS 78, the school where the meeting was held.

“This is a far-off issue for many of these parents,” said Isaac Carmignani, co-president of CDEC 30, about the new school.

The council invited representatives of the city School Construction Authority and the city Division of Portfolio Planning to PS 78, at 48-09 Center Blvd. in Long Island City, to discuss IS/HS 404, a school planned for 150 51st Ave. in Hunters Point.

Monica Gutierrez, of the SCA, said IS/HS 404 will have 432 junior high school seats and 433 high school seats and is on track to open in 2013. The school is accessible to those with disabilities, set up to deal with special education and will have an auditorium, air conditioning, Smart Boards and a terrace on the roof.

“You name it, it has it,” Gutierrez said of the school.

About 60 attendees at last Thursday’s meeting were asked about their objectives for the new school. Many, when asked to raise their hand, indicated they wanted the junior high school to be a district school rather than a choice school, meaning students close by would have the first pick to go to the middle school.

Like all high schools in the city, the high school portion of 404 would be by choice, but those who attended the middle school would get priority.

“We need to open the best possible schools for the communities that need them,” Nikki Scott of Portfolio Planning said.

But the more pressing concern for parents was PS 78. Carmignani said the building where the elementary school now resides was built as an early childhood center. It has no auditorium and no gym yet population growth necessitated turning the early childhood center into a kindergarten-through-fifth-grade school.

Due to the lack of amenities, the city Department of Education plans to relocate the school’s students to PS 312, which will be at 46-08 5th St. in Long Island City and, like IS/HS 404, is set to open in 2013.

Many parents asked for assurance that the PS 78 building would remain a school. Rebecca Rawlins of Portfolio Planning said there were no plans for the PS 78 building, although the city planned to continue to lease the site for the next several years.

Carmignani said the issue of the PS 78 building was more pressing to parents.

“They’re saying they want to keep this,” he said.

Representatives from Portfolio Planning are still taking suggestions on IS/HS 404. They said no curriculum has yet been determined for the school.

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at rhenely@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.

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