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Civic issues call for College Point middle school

Nicholas Corrado (l.) and Danielle DiMango, of Community Education Council District 25, listen to public comments during a recent meeting. Photo by Joe Anuta
TimesLedger Newspapers

College Point residents have repeatedly voiced their desire to have a middle school in the isolated neighborhood, but members of the city Department of Education have said in recent meetings that the statistics do not necessarily support a new building.

College Point parents have expressed their frustration at how far away middle schools are for their children. Specifically, they have complained about the discontinuation of yellow bus service for middle schoolers this year.

In years past, youngsters boarded the hulking yellow machines in the morning and were whisked out of the neighborhood to middle schools in adjoining communities: JHS 194 at 154-60 17th Ave. in Whitestone, or JHS 185 at 147-26 25th Drive in Flushing.

For College Point parents, the long, pre-dawn commutes on public transportation have made the distance between students’ homes and their middle schools painfully apparent. It has driven the College Point Civic Association to step up advocating for a middle school within the neighborhood, which is a peninsula isolated from the rest of the borough by the Whitestone Expressway.

“We see the need for a middle school to be built in College Point,” said Andrew Rocco, a member of the civic’s education committee. “We are geographically isolated.”

To bolster his argument, he cited large tracts of undeveloped land and vacant factories that could serve as a site. In addition, he said City Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott mentioned in a speech late last year that he wanted to build 50 new middle schools across the city.

“The chancellor wants new middle schools. We want a new middle school. What’s the problem?” he asked.

But according to DOE officials, the problem is that the existing middle schools zoned for College Point students are not overcrowded.

At a Community Education Council District 25 meeting Feb. 1, District Superintendant Danielle DiMango told Rocco that JHS 185 and JHS 194 are operating at the designed capacity. She questioned what would happen to those schools if some of their students were siphoned off to go to a new middle school, leaving 185 and 194 underused.

According to documents from the state Department of Education, which evaluates the size of each school in New York, average class sizes in the four major study areas have decreased from the 2007-08 school year to the 2009-10 school year and hovered between 26 and 30 students per class.

At JHS 185, average class sizes have remained steady at 30 over the same time period.

Both middle schools were given a “B” grade in their progress reports, according to documents from the city DOE.

But Rocco was not convinced.

He cited the recent development of condos at the end of College Point Boulevard, which hundreds of new families could begin to occupy once they are completed.

“Where are these kids going to school?” he asked.

Rocco also pointed out that the two elementary schools in College Point, PS 29 and PS 129, have had to install auxiliary trailers in order to teach students, which he takes as a sign of a growing student population, although construction is also being done at one of the schools, he said.

The new condos, he said, will only compound the problem.

But the agency that is in charge of building new schools, the city School Construction Authority, cannot simply build based on speculation, according to Monica Gutierrez, who presented a yearly update from the authority at a CEC District 25 meeting in December.

If the authority used money to build a new school based on future housing, the agency could be left holding the bag if the units do not sell, she told a group of concerned College Point citizens.

Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at januta@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.

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Alfredo C says:
They are so worried about the "designed capacity" they could care less about the actual clients they claim to serve and care about the CHILDREN!. What will happen to the schools? it will serve the Community children is that not why it is called a community school? They worry about capacity and put children in harms way. They take away busing and give them metro cards. These kids have to wake up at 4:30 to 5:00 AM in order to take the two buses necessary to make it into school. They come to school tired if they want to make it on time, their concentration is hindered, their education is compromised. At least the schools they attend continue to operate at "designated capacity".

College Point needs their own school for the safety of their children.
Feb. 19, 2012, 6:39 pm
Alfredo C says:
They are so worried about the "designed capacity" they could care less about the actual clients they claim to serve and care about the CHILDREN!. What will happen to the schools? it will serve the Community children is that not why it is called a community school? They worry about capacity and put children in harms way. They take away busing and give them metro cards. These kids have to wake up at 4:30 to 5:00 AM in order to take the two buses necessary to make it into school. They come to school tired if they want to make it on time, their concentration is hindered, their education is compromised. At least the schools they attend continue to operate at "designated capacity".

College Point needs their own school for the safety of their children.
Feb. 19, 2012, 6:39 pm
Ken A. from College Point says:
There also has developed a dangerous condition of serious overcrowding on the 20B heading into College Point around dismissal time. I'm a former teacher, retired due to a disability and on occasion take the 20B back into the Point during those runs, and there have been times I've been unable to exit the bus at the Whitepoint Center stop, and have to go to the end and take it back to my stop. At least Rob Cascarino gets a bit of business out of me!. The absolute cheapness of the city when it comes to this community is appalling, except of course when they want to dump unwanted/unneeded city projects on our doorstep.Perhaps they's like a bit of civic action at. their new NYPD academy.
Feb. 19, 2012, 9:58 pm
Alfredo C for real says:
The above commentator is not Alfredo C from Malba Gardens Civic.
Feb. 20, 2012, 8:42 am
Alfredo C from Malba Gardens Civic Association says:
Yet here we go again. A post about a serious issue in our surrounding community and someone with nothing better to do has to begin with falsehoods.

The above comments from Alfredo C were from me, Alfredo Centola from the Malba Gardens Civic Association.

This is a story about the children of our community needing a school which they do. It is unfair that they are treated like cattle and must travel in the early morning hours and return home in the evening. In September , once again, the CP students will not have the Yellow bus service they won for the remainder of this school year. So it is back to square one and who suffers? The children!
Feb. 20, 2012, 9:29 am
Joyce from College Point says:
Alfredo C for real is not Alfredo C from Malba Gardens Civic Association and Alfredo C. How many of you are out there? Anyway, whatever your name is you make an excellent point.
Feb. 20, 2012, 9:58 am
Carmine says:
That didn't take long at all.

Predictable.
Feb. 20, 2012, 2:57 pm
Carmine for real says:
The above commentator is not Carmine from Malba Gardens Civic.
Feb. 20, 2012, 3:59 pm
Big Lou from Whitestone says:
Your fake civic was too busy doing what exactly?
Feb. 20, 2012, 4:36 pm
Whitestone says:
Sad that you people have to ruin a good story.
Feb. 20, 2012, 5:19 pm
Andy Rocco from College Point says:
Thanks to the Whitestone times for Covering real issues of the neighborhoods of College Point and Whitestone! We really appreciate the much needed help!
Feb. 20, 2012, 9:01 pm
College Point says:
Sad that now you think you can speak for us.
Feb. 21, 2012, 12:04 pm
Whitestone says:
We are all neighbors and should support each other no?
Feb. 21, 2012, 12:06 pm
Andy Rocco from College Point says:
What's sad is that someone takes the time to read and comment on an article and has nothing positive to comtribute and offer any solutions to local issues and not even speak for themselves.
Feb. 21, 2012, 12:58 pm
Carmine says:
Well said Andy
Feb. 21, 2012, 2:45 pm
College Point says:
Our point exactly.
Feb. 21, 2012, 6:13 pm
John from College Point says:
I don't think there should be any middle schools built in College Point. Whats the big deal anyway? For years and years Kids from CP, have traveled to Whitestone or Flushing for Middle school. The two middle schools (194,185) that serve College Point are not even far away. When I was younger I went to 185. And sometimes played ball around 194, I used to walk there most of the time and 185 is an Easy 25-30min walk to College Point.
Feb. 26, 2012, 9:46 pm
Anonymous from District 25 says:
The only cause of JHS 194 "underused" will be all the Whitestone residents pulled their kids out of this school due to safety issue. Regardless of whatever "B" the article was referring to, the school got a big "F" in the environmental department, aka safety, for the 2011-2012 school year.
Aug. 15, 2012, 4:15 pm
Cleo from College Point says:
CP residents are usually not rich and can't afford higher taxes so are we able and willing to pay more taxes if it means building more schools? That hasn't come up, has it?

CP is an inconvenient location. When you have to commute to Manhattan because that's where all the real jobs are, it sucks even more. I think we get what we can afford to pay for.
Oct. 5, 2012, 8:49 pm

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