Purchase or Lease the Pre-K Center Building to Create an Elementary School in Court Square
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We are calling on the School Construction Authority to utilize the funds allocated in the current five-year plan for new schools in Long Island City to purchase or lease and renovate 27-35 Jackson Avenue, the current District 30 Pre-K Center/Incubation Site for the new school in Hunters Point South. This purchase or lease will create a permanent, zoned, Pre-K-5 Elementary School to support the exploding population of families with school age children in Court Square and Hunters Point. The renovations would include adding required windows or additional floors with desperately needed outdoor space on the third floor terrace for current and future Court Square and Hunters Point families. The purchase or lease and renovations would be financed with the funds already earmarked in the budget for new schools in Long Island City. Presently no school exists in Court Square, which has experienced unprecedented growth in the last few years, with numerous other residential towers coming online within the next 6-12 months.
Over two hundred (234) residential buildings have opened in Long Island City since our only currently zoned school, PS/IS 78, opened on Center Blvd approximately 22 years ago. Our neighborhood has been re-zoned and up-zoned multiple times in the last 10 years with no provisions for schools and other infrastructure beyond two small schools years away in Hunters Point South. The current proposals for small schools at 44th Drive and Vernon Boulevard, as well as in conjunction with the Anable Basin project, are not adequate solutions for our community. These proposals instead tie these desperately needed school seats to contentious re-zonings that will add almost six thousand (5,995) residential units. Furthermore, both projects are years away from breaking ground. The population of Long Island City has increased by 22% in the last 5 years alone, and that growth trend will undoubtedly continue with the opening of multiple residential towers currently under construction. All of this residential development without adequate Department of Education or City Planning takes a tremendous and recurring toll on parents of school age children every few years when the school age population far exceeds school seat capacity. Community officials are then left scrambling to find band-aid solutions, which are ultimately unsustainable for the development and diversity of the neighborhood.
As we watch Jackson Avenue and other parts of Court Square become lined with enormous residential towers, this problem will only grow and can only be adequately addressed by opening new schools.
The Site at 27-35 Jackson Avenue is centrally located in Court Square, the area of Long Island City that is experiencing the largest documented residential development boom in the nation. A large proportion of these incoming residents are families with school age children and a desire to put down roots in the neighborhood. Despite being at the center of the explosive residential development (20,000 new apartments since 2010 alone), Court Square has no existing, or planned elementary or middle schools at this time. The lack of schools in Court Square has a tremendous ripple effect on Hunters Point where families that live on the same street or even in the same building as PS/IS 78 may not be able to send their children to school as close to home as they would like. As a result, families with babies and young children expecting to be part of a vibrant neighborhood with basic infrastructure have to travel unreasonably far just so their children can attend school.
As parents and concerned community members, we ask that you sign if you support the School Construction Authority's purchase or lease and renovation of the Site at 27-35 Jackson Avenue into a permanent, zoned Pre-K – 5th Grade public Elementary School. As mentioned, the purchase or lease and renovations would be financed with the funds already earmarked in the budget for new schools in Long Island City.
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