Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley made a last stand against the proposed Maspeth high school at a City Council hearing on March 31, insisting, as she has for months, that the school give enrollment preference to local teens.
"As leaders, we cannot allow ourselves to be bullied by a blind policy that does not support the needs of the people we've been elected to represent," Crowley testified at the council's Land Use Committee hearing on the school. "Fellow council members know that the current proposal does not have my support."
Department of Education (DOE) spokesman Will Havemann confirmed that the full City Council will vote on the school on Thursday, April 2, after this paper goes to press.
In an unusual departure from customary procedure, the Land Use Committee passed the proposal onto the full council without voting on it first.
Even before Crowley testified at the Land Use hearing, she warned Maspeth Community Board Five members - who recently voted in favor of the school so long as it receives local zoning - that it appeared likely the council would approve the Department of Education's (DOE) proposal for the 1,100-seat school, at a site on 58th Avenue and 74th Street, without a local zoning provision.
"After your last community board meeting, I brought your recommendations and concerns to the Department of Education," Crowley wrote. "They refused to make any provisions for a local zone aside from the already offered District 24 preference. The proposal before the City Council this week is for an 1,100-seat high school with a District 24 preference."
If the council votes to approve the site, DOE will proceed with plans to build a new high school that would give enrollment priority to all students in District 24, instead of first to students from Maspeth, as Crowley has called for.
"Right now the Department of Education and Chancellor Klein plan to move forward with a school without the support of the community board, local leaders, the Community Education Council, or local elected officials," Crowley stated in her letter. "The DOE's proposed plan does not address the needs of the community, nor does it address the needs of the students in Maspeth and Middle Village."