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Avella touts crowded school fix

Classroom sizes are smaller at PS 209 in Whitestone after state Sen. Tony Avella said the DOE found money in the budget to bring in an additional teacher. Photo by Phil Corso
TimesLedger Newspapers

To address an ongoing issue of too many kids in the classrooms of a Whitestone school, one northeast Queens lawmaker said he worked with the city Department of Education to lower class sizes while keeping the same number of seats at the school.

In a statement sent this week, state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) said he had worked with parents and DOE administrators to assure that students at PS 209 in Whitestone would no longer be affected by overcrowding.

“I am glad that after working alongside devoted, yet frustrated parents, I was able to get the DOE to alleviate the overcrowding at PS 209,” Avella said. “Classrooms of close to 40 students is simply unacceptable, no matter any budget constraints.”

According to Avella, parents of PS 209 students brought the issue of crowded classrooms to the senator’s office in May. After a meeting with school Principal Mary McDonnell, Avella said he was told that PS 209 was sharing building space with PS 9, contributing to an overcrowded environment. As a result, the school would group as many as 40 students in one classroom and carry out physical education tests for special-education students in the hallways, Avella said.

Over the summer, Avella said he worked with city Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott, requesting a meeting with him and McDonnell to devise a plan to address the overcrowded conditions at the school, at 16-10 Utopia Pkwy. in Whitestone.

Though that meeting never came to fruition, Avella said parents reported the issue was still not addressed by the new school year’s beginning in September. But after contacting McDonnell, Avella said the school had worked to create a new class at the school, alleviating the growing class sizes and ultimately addressing the overcrowding condition.

“Every student in this city deserves a classroom where their teacher can check their homework assignments and they can get the individualized attention they need,” Avella said. “Thanks to everyone’s efforts, students at PS 209 will be able to concentrate on their studies, not whether they fit into a classroom.”

PS 209 in Whitestone is part of District 75 in Queens.

Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at pcorso@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.

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Reader Feedback

Mike Manning from Bowne Park says:
this is great news for a great school. This principal really cares about these kids; I know because my son went there and he is now in college and this school was the happiest time of all our lives...
Oct. 5, 2012, 9:38 am

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