Elected officials met with the Department of Education at MoMA PS1 in Long Island City to answer parents’ questions regarding what the addition of two new schools in Hunters Point could mean for their children, with over 200 people attending last Wednesday’s discussion to voice concerns.
"Every day, these parents see school buildings being constructed all around them, but they have not had the opportunity to ask the Department of Education how the schools would actually affect their children," said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who co-hosted the meeting.
State Senator Michael Gianaris, Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan and Community Board 2 Chair Joe Conley were also in attendance to help answer questions regarding the two new schools, P.S. 312, a K-8 school with 542 seats, and I.S./H.S. 404 with 1,072 seats—both of which are set to open in September, 2013.
The two schools will be joining the only nearby educational facility, P.S. 78.
Many parental worries stemmed from zoning options and programming to be offered at the new schools, but a primary cause for concern seemed to be spots that would be available for local children.
Local resident and parent Rachel Lytle asked what she could do as a new mother to make sure that her toddler would have a seat at P.S. 312. “I have a two year old, and I’m already in panic,” she said.
Though the addition of the two new schools will add over 1,500 new seats, many parents still fear that their child will have to compete for a spot with the ever-growing population. According to the 2010 census, Hunter’s Point has seen an increase of 5,000 residents since 2000.
Nolan shared the concerns with local parents, acknowledging that developers are often unwilling to build new educational facilities, and Monica Guiterrez of the School Construction Authority, added that it was difficult to find locations to build new schools, which could take several years.
Community Education Council 30 co-President Jeff Guyton helped to reassure parents by letting them know that CEC 30 was continuing to push for the construction of new schools in the area.