Nov. 12, 2015 By Jackie Strawbridge
A new parents’ organization has formed in response to local school overcrowding, with the goal of supporting education advocacy in Long Island City.
The Gantry Parent Association formed its board in October, and is open to all families, expectant parents and others interested in local public education. President Jennifer Theien said the GPA was created in part to unify the neighborhood conversations that were already taking place about schools, development and overcrowding.
“It came from a bunch of us moms who are worried,” Theien said. “Year to year, there’s always been issues with overcrowding and not enough seats for all the kids.”
“Instead of being angry about it, why not join forces?” she added.
One of the GPA’s primary goals is to facilitate conversations with elected officials, the Department of Education and other parents.
Theien said the group hopes to have its first meeting, ideally with local representatives, within the next month to discuss how they can collaborate to ensure that school seats keep pace with development.
One specific project that Theien said the GPA will “absolutely” focus on will be scouting for potential new school sites.
This effort would continue a search that has been underway by many in the school community, especially following the announcement that PS/IS 78 faces truncation.
The GPA will also act as a “resource hub” for the community.
Theien said this hub will largely involve a GPA website listing dates for meetings including for the Community Education Council and parent-teacher associations, school registration information and other public education resources.
That website will launch “hopefully in the next week,” she said.
“[Long Island City] is so family-friendly, it’s such a great neighborhood,” Theien added. “We just want to make sure that everybody has their own seat within their own public school.”