May 5, 2015 By Christian Murray
Two extra kindergarten classes are being added to PS/IS 78 that will cater to the 50-zoned children who were placed on a wait list.
Superintendent Philip Composto, who spoke in front of a packed auditorium at PS/IS 78Q last night, told parents that there would be six kindergarten classes up from the four at present. The school would then be able to meet the needs of up to 150 kindergarten students.
However, Composto warned that if 150 children applied for kindergarten again next year that there was the possibility that truncation would be required, where 6th, 7th and 8th grade students would be phased out of the middle school to cater to the growing number of younger children.
He said that if that occurred a discussion of truncation would begin in about March 2016.
“In 2009/2010 we had two classes for every grade,” Composto said. “Since then the number of children in the zone has increased by 174%.”
Composto assured parents with fifth graders that their children would be able to attend the middle school later this year and could stay there until they could completed 8th grade. However, for 4th graders he was less certain.
To avoid truncation construction of a new school would be needed, Composto said. He said that parents should fight to make sure that the Department of Education’s capital budget includes funding for a Long Island City school.
He said that there was a possibility for an interim solution where the Department of Education leases an existing building and then overhauls it to be a school. The cost would also come from the Department of Education’s capital budget.
Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who also spoke at the meeting, said: “It is an important victory that all the [kindergarten] children are able to go to school.”
However, Van Bramer said he opposed truncation.
“I do not support truncation,” he said. “We cannot let that happen and I will fight to the very end.”