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Parents Start Petition for More School Seats in LIC

 Parents started a petition after 50 kids were waitlisted at the neighborhood's only elementary school.
Parents started a petition after 50 kids were waitlisted at the neighborhood's only elementary school.
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DNAinfo/Jeanmarie Evelly

HUNTERS POINT — Parents in Long Island City are calling on the Department of Education to build more school seats in the neighborhood, after dozens of children were wait-listed for kindergarten this year at the area's only elementary school.

More than 200 people signed an online petition asking the city to build new local schools, saying the current offerings aren't enough to accommodate the number of families in the area, where thousands of new apartments are expected to open in the coming years.

"There's just been tremendous growth in the number of people and families," said Jillian Tangen, a resident of the neighborhood for eight years who started the petition. Her daughter is among the 50 students that were wait-listed for kindergarten at P.S. 78.

"It's crazy to think about the fact that we have one zoned elementary school," she said, saying she worries the situation will only be more difficult by the time her 2-year-old is ready for school. "This is just getting worse and worse."

P.S. 78 — which is made up of two school buildings, one for younger students and another for kids up to grade 8 — is the zoned school for Hunters Point as well as nearby Court Square.

Both neighborhoods are seeing rapid residential development, with the massive Hunters Point South housing project underway on the waterfront and thousands of apartments being built in Court Square and Queens Plaza.

A new school building with a high school, middle school and special education program opened as part of the first phase of Hunters Point South, but P.S. 78 remains the only elementary school.

"As a result of this negligence, a substantial number of zoned elementary school children will continue to be turned away as these developments are completed," the petition reads.

The DOE did not immediately respond to an inquiry about whether the School Construction Authority is planning any new schools for Long Island City. But a spokesman previously told DNAinfo that the department is working to ensure that "every child has access to a seat in a quality school."