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Staten Island Pols Call on Mayoral Candidates to Stop I.S. 2 Co-Location

By Nicholas Rizzi | September 19, 2013 8:28am
 The elected officials have called the mayoral candidates to join their opposition of the co-location.
Staten Island Elected Officals Oppose I.S. 2 Co-Location
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MIDLAND BEACH — A group of elected officials on Staten Island has called on the mayoral candidates and the city to halt plans to move another school inside I.S. 2.

The Department of Education wants to put the new zoned middle school inside I.S. 2, which already has a middle school, starting in 2014.

"This is a wonderful school and it's doing a great job," said State Sen. Andrew Lanza. "In some respects, this seems to be a solution in search of a problem."

Lanza joined Councilman James Oddo, Assembly members Nicole Malliotakis and Michael Cusick, and Mid-Island City Council candidate Steven Matteo outside the Midland Avenue school on Wednesday to push for Joe Lhota and Bill de Blasio to oppose the plan.

"We're calling on the two candidates for mayor to say that this should not happen," Cusick said.

"Our feeling is if both candidates who might be mayor say 'no,' ultimately this project would be dead on arrival."

If passed, the DOE will start the school with a sixth grade class and scale back I.S. 2's enrollment. It currently has 976 students, according to the DOE.

Parents of children in the existing school have spoken out against the plan, creating an online petition and putting fliers around the school in opposition to the plan.

"Parents have expressed they want smaller class sizes, not crowding two schools in one building," the petition said.

Sam Pirozzolo, president of Staten Island's Community Education Council, said the DOE planned two other co-locations in the borough and has good reasons for them — but he knew of no reasons why I.S. 2 would benefit from adding a new school.

"The DOE has yet to provide one valid reason why this co-location would benefit the students," he said.

Oddo said the DOE seems to be rushing the plan and hasn't had time to answer parent concerns.

"Clearly the I.S. 2 family, parents, students and elected officials have deep concerns about this plan," Oddo said. "We have questions that haven't been answered."

The DOE did not respond to requests for comment for this story.

The DOE will host a public information session on the co-location at I.S. 2 on Oct. 3, with a vote on the plan scheduled for their Panel for Educational Policy meeting on Oct. 15.