Acting BP Lee is accepting applications to join CEC 30

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Acting Borough President Sharon Lee is looking for two dedicated parent volunteers to fill two vacant positions on Community Education Council District 30.

Lee is accepting applications from education-minded individuals until Friday, August 7.

CEC 30, which includes Sunnyside, Woodside, Jackson Heights, East Elmhurst, Astoria and Long Island City, is responsible for advising and commenting on educational policies and providing input to Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza.

Each CEC oversees elementary and middle schools in their respective community school district. There are seven community school districts in Queens.

To read more about the role of CECs, click here.

CEC members meet for public meetings every month, and visit schools to see what their educational needs are. They also review the district’s educational programs, approve zoning lines, and submit a capital plan to the chancellor after holding public hearings.

The CEC membership application is available online here and can be returned by email to education@queensbp.org.

Van Bramer explains why he voted ‘no’ to the budget

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On Tuesday night, the New York City Council voted to pass the $88 billion budget for Fiscal Year 2021.

For weeks, advocates marching and protesting across the city have called for defunding the NYPD by at least $1 billion. The demonstrations have resulted in an occupation of City Hall Park, where activists called on the City Council to decrease the police budget significantly.

However, as City Council Speaker Corey Johnson later admitted, negotiations for the $1 billion in cuts fell short.

When the vote for the budget came, 37 members voted in favor, while 12 voted against. Sunnyside Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer was one of the no votes.

“The people have demanded a real $1 billion cut to the NYPD, but also a reimagining of public safety in this city,” he explained in a statement. “Sadly, the most historic part of this budget is how it fails to meet the moment.

“As a person who benefits from white privilege, I have a particular obligation to meet this moment and to use my power and privilege to end white supremacy and a police state that brutalizes black and brown bodies,” he added.

Van Bramer noted that over $350 million of the cut is through overtime reduction goals. However, he said based on history, the reduction is more of a “suggestion” because NYPD blows through overtime numbers.

The councilman added that the budget should have eliminated more cadet classes and actively reduced the headcount of uniformed officers.

On moving school safety officers out of the NYPD to the Department of Education budget, Van Bramer said those changes happen over two years, and does nothing for students who feel over-policed and criminalized.

“It’s not a cut,” he said. “We should have gone much further and invested more in education and programs that build up communities.”

Virtual Queens Parent Advisory Board Meeting on Thursday

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The next Queens Parent Advisory Board Meeting will be conducted virtually on Thursday, April 30 from 6 to 8 p.m.

The Department of Education will discuss remote learning, cancelled tests and other changes to the academic calendar due to COVID-19

Come equipped with questions because after the presentation, parents will be able to ask administrators about these changes.

This is a good chance for parents to learn about how virtual learning will progress moving forward.

PS 151 opens new schoolyard

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After decades without proper play space, the kids at PS 151 near the Boulevard Gardens apartment co-ops in Woodside finally have a full schoolyard.

The brand-new yard features different types of colorful jungle gyms, basketball courts, a turf field and so much more.

For 21 years, trailer classrooms for the special needs students at PS 255 sat in the yard. The trailers were not good for learning, and the lack of a schoolyard made recess a dull affair.

In fact, current Assemblyman Brian Barnwell, who reps Woodside, was a student at PS 151 when the trailers went in. He’s now in his 30s!

Faculty, staff, parents and especially children were thrilled by the yard opening last week.

For more reaction and information, check out the article in this week’s LIC/Astoria Journal newspaper.

 

Corner by St. Sebastian’s school finally gets all-way stop

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The corner of 57th Street and Woodside Avenue has been a dangerous spot for Woodside residents.

It was the site of a fatal incident last year, and at least a dozen people have been injured here over the past few years.

After a concerted push by community board leaders, elected officials and school administrators, the Department of Transportation has finally installed an all-way stop sign at the intersection.

As you know, this corner is not only near St. Sebastian’s Catholic Academy, but PS 11, Doughboy Park and other schools nearby. Cars often use 57th Street to cut through Woodside down from Queens Boulevard.

Thanks to advocacy from residents, this intersection will be a little safer for everyone to cross.