Mary Leas, the project support manager in charge of this project for the School Construction Authority, confirmed via telephone that there will be NO general ed high school at the Maspeth site. She stated point blank, "We don't build those anymore."
The Maspeth school would consist of a 100-seat special ed school and 2 themed schools, neither of which will be science-related, Ms. Leas explained, because SCA did not factor expensive science labs into the cost equation for construction. When asked what kind of themed school will be there, she said that would be decided after it's constructed.
You parents in the Maspeth/Midville/Elmhurst area need to understand that your kid will still be forced to hop a bus to Newtown or Cleveland or you'll be paying for parochial/private school even if this school is constructed. There can be no concession for the local "feeder schools" as Council Member Elizabeth Crowley has been pushing for because all specialized schools must be open to the entire city. Therefore, this school will do nothing to ease the overcrowding of the general ed high schools that neighborhood kids most frequently attend.
Oh, and when asked why she withheld this information during her multiple public presentations, Leas said, "Nobody asked."
Then there was this in an e-mail from the Department of Education:
"The Department of Education believes that the creation of a new high school in Maspeth is a crucial part of the overall plan to build new capacity and alleviate overcrowding in Queens. While the Department of Education works to balance the need for new school space throughout Queens with local concerns about traffic congestion, the broader needs of the borough must be addressed."
In other words, "Your neighborhood can open its mouth wide while we ram this school down its throat, make your commute more miserable and destroy your quality-of-life."
Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley needs to explain again why the residents of Maspeth need this school and should accept it in their community when, by design, it will serve mostly children from outside the neighborhood who will overwhelm the area's anemic bus service. And while she's at it, she can also explain to the businesses along the Grand Avenue strip why their customers should have to compete for parking with school employees.
If the City needs to build a school that's open to everyone, they should put it near Northern Boulevard or Queens Boulevard where there are subways and aren't 2 other schools within 4 blocks.