On February 22, 2010, Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi, Assemblyman Michael Miller, Council Member Karen Koslowitz, and Council Member Elizabeth Crowley met with Kathleen Grimm, Deputy Chancellor of Finance and Administration and other representatives from the New York City Department of Education to discuss zoning issues for the Queens Metropolitan Avenue High School.
In early February, responding to community concerns that the new Metropolitan Avenue High School would be underutilized by only opening the school with a ninth grade, the Department of Education agreed to increase the incoming freshman class by 100 seats, resulting in a total of 350 students who will attend the school in Fall 2010. Under the Department’s original plan, the additional 100 seats were going to be filled by students from throughout the entire borough of Queens. This borough wide priority for the additional seats was not in keeping with the Metropolitan Avenue High Schools’ intended purpose, to relieve overcrowding in districts 24 and 28.
After a series of tough negotiations, the Department of Education reached an unprecedented decision; they agreed to create priority status for the students of school districts 24 and 28. This decision will allow students in the previously established zone the first priority, followed by students who reside in school districts 24 and 28, and, if all the seats have not been filled, would open the remaining seats to students who reside in Queens.
“Although the negotiations with the Department of Education were frequent and difficult,” said Assemblyman Hevesi, “the DOE ultimately honored their commitment to the families and children in our communities. My colleagues, Council Member Koslowitz, Council Member Crowley, and Assemblyman Mike Miller should be commended for their consistent and passionate advocacy. We will remain vigilant in future years to ensure the Queens Metropolitan High School fulfills its intended mission.”
Assemblyman Miller said, “I am very thankful for the DOE reconsidering their plans with the interest of our community in their hearts. This plan will relieve severe overcrowding in the surrounding schools, as it was originally planned to do, and provide a better learning experience for our children. While the plan is not a perfect one, it is a good one. We now face the challenge of making sure our parents have the proper information about this new school and the appeals process that will make sure their child has a seat in the classroom.”
Council Member Karen Koslowitz said, “I am very pleased that the students of districts 28 and 24 will be able to attend a wonderful new school in their community. We fought long and hard to make sure that the Metropolitan High School was locally zoned. I look forward to the school providing a fantastic learning experience for students in the years to come.”
Council Member Elizabeth Crowley said, “The secondary zone provided by the Department of Education will give our local families a better chance at getting into the Metropolitan Avenue High School. We fought hard to keep the Metropolitan High School focused on serving the educational needs of the community and I believe the zone, and now the secondary zone, will go a long way to make sure this school serves our neighborhood first."