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Bloomberg to open 15 new schools in boro

Mayor Michael Bloomberg (c.) and city Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott (l.) announce several new schools will open across the city in September at a news conference at IS 204 in Long Island City. Photo by Ellis Kaplan
TimesLedger Newspapers

Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced 78 new schools will open across the city in September — including 15 in Queens — at a news conference Tuesday held at a Long Island City school that is the future home of a new technical academy.

“Our administration has created a record number of schools and programs for our students, which have helped to lead record gains,” Bloomberg said at IS 204, at 36-41 28th St. “We still have more work to do, and with our new schools and school leaders, we’ll continue to provide our children with the opportunities they deserve.”

He said scholastic achievement has been bolstered under his administration. The number of students going on to college has risen by 40 percent since 2005, and Bloomberg said the number of students dropping out of school has fallen by half.

City Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott also said new schools offer students and parents an important choice in their education.

“There’s so many exciting opportunities,” he said. “Our new schools are visionary.”

In addition to the new schools, 18 new school buildings will open in September. Most of the new schools will be co-located in existing buildings.

Queens will open two elementary schools, six middle schools, one combined middle and high school, three high schools, two combined high schools and career and technical education schools and one transfer high school in various neighborhoods, including Corona, Elmhurst, East Elmhurst, South Ozone Park, South Jamaica, Laurelton, Middle Village, Hunters Point and others.

Bloomberg said his administration has opened 656 new schools since 2002, more than any other administration in the city’s history, and created 126,000 school seats.

But he reaffirmed his commitment to the administration’s controversial practice of closing underperforming schools.

“We should always close those that are at the bottom,” he said. “We want to work with them to make them better, but there’s always going to be a bottom 10 percent and why should we settle for that?”

Several of the new schools that will open will be career and technical education schools that prepare students for careers in various industries, including Energy Tech, set to open in IS 204.

“These schools connect high school students directly to the working world and give them a foot in the door in the fast growing industries that are creating jobs in the future,” Bloomberg said.

Energy Tech will train students for careers in the energy industry through a partnership with National Grid, Consolidated Edison and LaGuardia Community College. Students will be mentored by industry professionals, hold internships and take college-level classes, graduating with high school and associates degrees.

Reach reporter Karen Frantz by e-mail at kfrantz@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4538.

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