QUEENS — The Department of Education says it will continue to guarantee seats to zoned students who apply to Long Island City High School after reassessing a plan that would have only given priority to those living in the neighborhood next year.
Local education leaders raised concerns last week after an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed co-location of a tech school said LIC HS would not provide a guaranteed seat for zoned students who apply to its zoned program next year, offering instead a "priority" to those students.
The DOE now says that after reassessing its numbers, it plans to include an explicit guarantee for LIC's zoned students who apply.
Van Buren High School in Queens Village — where the city is also proposing a co-location — will also guarantee seats for applicants who live in its zone, the DOE said.
In spite of the change, Queens District 30 Community Education Council president Rachel Paster said she and other leaders are still concerned about a change in the Chancellor's Regulations that's being proposed for next year.
The current regulations state that eighth-graders are "guaranteed admission to their zoned high school if they apply," she points out, but the language in the regulations proposed for next year say those students will be "either given a priority for or guaranteed admission to their zoned high school."
The concern, Paster said, is that students who are given "priority" at their zoned neighborhood school could potentially be denied a seat and be forced to attend another school far from their homes.
"A lot of the time, people are going to their zoned school because they didn’t get into a more selective program," she said. "It's a vulnerable group of kids."
But the DOE says all neighborhood schools will continue to offer a guaranteed seat for zoned applicants next year with the exception of four: Lehman in The Bronx and Flushing, Newtown and Queens Metropolitan high schools in Queens, which will instead give priority to zoned applicants.
Even without an explicit guarantee, the DOE still expects to be able to accommodate all of the zoned students who apply to these schools, where zoned application numbers have been low.
"The enrollment change affects just a handful of schools and a small number of students," said DOE spokesman Devon Puglia in a statement. "Families should be able to choose the school that's right for them — and that's just what we're offering."
The DOE's Panel for Educational Policy is scheduled to vote on both the new Chancellor's Regulations and the proposed co-location of LIC High School at its meeting Oct. 30.
A public hearing on the DOE's co-location plan for LIC High School will be held at the school at 14-30 Broadway in Queens on Oct. 23 at 6 p.m.