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Morris Park community calling on DOE for community junior high school

Bronx Times
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The push is on for Morris Park to get its own junior high school.

With parents and community association members claiming they’ve become somewhat of a forgotten neighborhood, Morris Park Community Association president and Community Board 11 vice chair Al D’Angelo has been leading the charge to get the community its own junior high school.

D’Angelo met earlier this month with Monica Major, director of education & youth for Borough President Diaz, to discuss the issue.

“Basically, the students in District 11 have no place to go once they graduate from fifth grade, other than the other side of the parkway,” D’Angelo said. “This is something that parents around here don’t want. They would rather have a school in this community.”

Morris Park currently has two middle schools that accommodate 6th through 8th graders – P.S. 83 and Van Nest Academy— not nearly enough to accommodate the hundreds of graduating students from P.S. 108 and 105.

“When students graduate from 108 and 105, there is no place on this side of the parkway to go,” D’Angelo said.

Because of overcrowding in neighborhood schools, students and parents were forced to use a lottery system last year, with the losers sent to schools at the far end of the school district near the Westchester County line.

Department Of Education officials admitted at a meeting last July with Councilman Jimmy Vacca and D’Angelo that were not enough nearby middle schools to accommodate local graduating students.

The DOE is now claiming community District 11’s need—which includes Morris Park and Van Nest—is at the elementary school level. A DOE spokesperson said the department is currently working on creating seats to meet the need.

Adding to the crunch, another K-5 school set to open on Lydig Avenue this year.

“What the DOE seems to keep doing is building schools in our area that are not serving the needs of our community,” D’Angelo said.

One possible solution, he noted, would be to use the vacant lot on 180th street where the old ASPCA building once stood.

“We’ve proposed that to the DOE many times,” D’Angelo said. “No one gets back to us. We need a neighborhood school. That is one thing everyone in the community agrees on.”

D’Angleo said the DOE has said – on more than one occasion – that “they are looking into all possibilit­ies.”

Kirsten Sanchez can be reach via e-mail at ksanchez@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3394

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