The school, geographically located in District 26, is currently used primarily by District 25 students enrolled in a special program of science and technology. In the meantime, students who live within walking distance of the school are basically shut out and transported to other overcrowded schools in District 26.
This September, grades four and five will be added to the PS 130 program. The school is currently operating over capacity. Where will they be putting these additional students?
In the meantime, a new school, PS 376, will be opening on the former Keil property this fall. But the plan is only to start with kindergarten classes at this huge building. The following school year, another grade will be added, and so on, until grades K-5 are in the building during the 2022-2023 school year.
Is this an efficient way to utilize this building when most elementary schools in District 26 are bursting at the seams?
The solution that the Auburndale Improvement Association is suggesting is to transfer the current PS 130 program to the new school, where there will be adequate room for all of the grades. Perhaps there will be room for some District 26 students to also attend the excellent program being offered?
Then return PS 130 for use by the local neighborhood children, who will be able to walk to their school. This will decrease enrollment in overcrowded PS 31, 159 and 162, which currently are feeder schools for those children who would normally be attending PS 130.
The Auburndale Improvement Association has submitted their idea to the schools chancellor. We have been told that the idea is not viable, but no concrete reasons have been given why this plan is not viable.
We have submitted hundreds signatures on petitions with comments to the chancellor demanding the return of PS 130 for use by local children. Copies also went to the superintendents of District 25 and 26 and elected officials. The answer from DOE is always no.
The last response we received came from an assistant to the chancellor who was not even aware that the school had been a District 26 school for over 50 years before it was taken over by District 25.
State Senator Tony Avella, Assemblyman Ed Braunstein and Councilman Paul Vallone have written letters supporting our goal. Community Board 11 voted unanimously to write a letter to the chancellor asking for the return of the school to District 26 students.
So has the Queens Civic Congress, the umbrella organization representing close to 100 civic and community organizations in Queens County.
With all due respect, we can not understand why the superintendent of District 26 is not fighting for the return of PS 130 to District 26 when so many of the elementary schools in her district are overcrowded.
The superintendent of District 25 should also be more proactive in fighting for new schools in her district where overcrowding is also commonplace. Perhaps it is just easier for them to accept the status quo.
Our goal is to ensure that all children in our area have a quality education in their own neighborhood. When you see children waiting for a school bus in all kinds of weather when they could just walk a few blocks to their local school, it just doesn’t make sense.
Decisions are being made by people in high places who are not in touch with the concerns of our area.
We have waited for many years for the return of PS 130 to the local community. We may have to wait a little longer, but we will never give up until this outrageous inequity is corrected.
Terri Pouymari is president and Henry Euler is first vice president of the Auburndale Improvement Association.