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NYC Department of Education, Attn: Chancellor Walcott
NYC Department of Education, Attn: Katherine Grimm, Deputy Chancellor, Division of Operations
NYC Department of Education, Attn: Deputy Chancellor Marc Sternberg, Office of Portfolio Planning
NYC School Construction Authority, Attn: Lorraine Grillo, President and Chief Executive Officer
NYC School Construction Authority, Attn: Michael Cona, Division of Leasing
NYC Department of Education, Attn: Juan Rosales, Division of Family and Community EngagementNYS Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan
City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer
We, the undersigned, call on the NYC Department of Education to immediately correct Long Island City's severe school shortage. With each passing year, an increasing number of families have moved to Long Island City. Yet, despite an obvious increase in the number of neighborhood children, the Department of Education has failed to add adequate school seating.
Instead, residents now face an education crisis. For P.S. 78's pre-K program, only 36 seats are provided for approximately over 100 applicants. Instead of the Department building a solution over the years, families now face a lottery process to enter P.S.78 in which the odds against AGAINST entry are 2:1.
Additionally, no firm plans have been announced to provide adequate seating for higher grades; even a new high school is insufficient. Accordingly, we strongly urge the Department of Education to act immediately to:
1) Change P.S. 78 into a zoned district elementary school, grades pre-K through 2nd grade, at its present location, no later than the 2013 opening of the 5th Street K-8 school;
2) Increase the number of school seats for both current residents AND new families expected to arrive, from pre-K through 12, even after improving seating at P.S.78, as above;
3) Ensure that each child is in a class with a low student to teacher ratio.
Despite years of warning about the need to provide additional seats, the City and the Department of Education have not acted with adequate planning, remedy or accountability. The Department must act immediately to ensure seats for all children and provide binding assurances that this situation does not reoccur in the future.