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Fiction #1

Community Board 11/ School District 26/ Council District 19 needs a


new high school.
Versus

The Truth

-Ms. Melissa La Rocca of the SCA said that high schools must be looked at on a
Borough-wide basis as students have the right to apply to any schools.
-Deputy Chancellor Elizabeth Rose has said "If you look at the total enrollment in all of
our buildings in aggregate and compare that to the total capacity of all of our buildings in
aggregate, there are in fact enough seats. (1)
- Only 27 of the DOEs 430 high schools have a zoned program. OSE uses these
programs to place out of zone students into schools.
-The DOEs Office of Student Enrollment (OSE) decides which and how many high
school students are assigned to each school- not parent or student choice. It has sole
authority.
- 60% of the students attending Bayside, Benjamin Cardozo, Queens High School
of Teaching & Francis Lewis High Schools are not zoned for these schools. OSE
assigns them.
- Only 4 Queen 91 high schools are assigned students by OSE in numbers more than
160% of their SCA Blue Book capacity: 2 in district 26 (Bayside & Francis Lewis), 1 in
District 28 (Forest Hills) & 1 in District 24. (2)
- The average utilization for all 91 Queens high schools is 104.8% but schools in District
26 are assigned students by OSE in much larger numbers (Cardozo-142%, Bayside162%, Francis Lewis-192%) than anywhere else. (2)
- The OSE assigns students to 60 of Queens 91 high schools in numbers less than
100% the schools SCA utilization capacity (SCA Blue Book). (2)
- These 60 underutilized schools have 8,658 unused seats available right now. (2)
- 55 of Queens 89 Middle Schools have 5,930 unused available seats right now for 9th
grade or high school use. (2)
- At the same time, the 55 Elementary schools in Districts 25 & 26 are short 6,129 seats (2)
LEADS TO:

Conclusion #1

Overcrowding in the high schools within Community Board 11/ School District 26/
Council District 19 is by OSE design. More seats are not needed while many other high
schools have seats and middle schools have enough space for 9th grades, co-locations
of high schools, or 6-12 schools in existing buildings. This new school is not needed.

Fiction #2

The SCA & CM Vallone want community input about the new school.
Versus

The Truth

-CM Vallone has stated We cant stop it. This indicates his interpretation of community
input does not include input concerning building the school or not.
-In June, the SCA announced the building as a Bayside High School Annex and secured
$113.6 million in funding for it with no community announcement nor input. Even the staff
of Bayside High School across the street from the site was not informed.
- 4,000 signed petitions against the building of the school were delivered to multiple
parties, including the SCA and CM Vallone totally ignored with no response.
- The SCA signed the contract of sale without prior notice to anyone on C11 or in the
community except CM Vallone.

- Ms. La Rocca of the SCA has said there will be no staff parking and that the community
would have to put up with it. CM Vallone said onsite staff parking was possible.
- Ms. La Rocca of the SCA has said that the required environmental impact and traffic
studies have never prevented the SCA from building any project before, indicating they
are pro-forma. CM Vallone said these studies would have community input. Ms. Ms. La
Rocca of the SCA has said they have no plans to speak with the local community
residents.
- Artists rendering of the school first shown at Borough President Katz June meeting
have not been made available to CB 11 or the local community.
LEADS TO:
Conclusion #2

Fiction #3

No true community input has been or will be sought for this project.

CM Vallone has said that the building would be appropriate to the


neighborhood and not more than two or three stories.
Versus

The Truth

- The lot size is 54,000 sqft. for a school to service 728 students. Based on OSEs
requirements for District 26 utilization, this will become 1,000 students very quickly. (3)
- An elementary school for 416 students, currently under SCA construction (the Keil
Brothers site) for $50 million is 75,000 gsf and will have 4 floors plus basement (floor
plans viewable at http://www.raftarchitects.com/nycps332q/ ).
- Using 120-180 sqft per student (DOE range), the 32nd Avenue school will need to be
87,000 to 131,000 sqft to service 728 students.
- With a plot size of 54,000 sqft. and set-back/open space of 30%; this will require 4 to 6
floors.
- Artists rendering of the school first shown at Borough President Katz June meeting
have not been made available to CB 11 or the local community. It is primarily glass and
steel.
LEADS TO:

Conclusion #3

If built, it will be multi-story glass & steel entirely out of character with the neighborhood.

Fiction #4

CM Vallone has said the school would service all local children.
Versus

The Truth

-OSE policy is that all high schools are open to all Queens residents who apply. OSE
places students and determines utilization as it sees fit. No community has input into
these centralized policies.
LEADS TO:

Conclusion #4

If built, residents will have no say as to the schools enrollment policies.

Fiction #5

CM Vallone has said the school could be specialized or screened.


Versus

The Truth

-Screened and specialized programs are under extraordinary pressure to be open to all
applicants from the Borough with no priority for local students. OSE policy is that all high
schools are open to all Queens residents who apply. OSE places students & determines
utilization as it sees fit. No community has input into these centralized policies.
LEADS TO:

Conclusion #5

If built, residents will have no say as to the schools enrollment policies.

Fiction #6

Opponents of the school are racist and this is just NIMBY (not in my
backyard) syndrome.
Versus

The Truth

-Is it not more racist to assume that good schools that will attract students need to be
built in communities that are lived in by a predominantly white and Asian population?
- The existing high schools within Community Board 11/ School District 26/ Council
District 19 already serve thousands of students from all parts of Queens (and beyond)
including students of all ethnic and economic backgrounds.
-Bayside High School, World Journalism High School, Holy Cross High School, Sacred
Heart School, the Lutheran School of Flushing, Blessed Sacrament School, the Lowell
School, PS 41, PS 159, and IS 25 are all within a 5 minute walk from the proposed
site with ten more schools within a 10 minute walk.
-Local history illustrates that high schools too close to each other can develop conflict
and dangerous situations (e.g. Jamaica, Hillcrest & Thomas Edison High School
issues).
- Sources contend that CM Vallone invited the SCA to bid on the Bayside Jewish Center
property to prevent the Korean Community Services of Metropolitan NY from purchasing
it. If correct, could this not be considered somewhat racist?
LEADS TO:

Conclusion #6

The local community is already overburdened with schools that service the entire
Borough. The opposition is not about race nor NIMBY.

Fiction #7

The construction is inevitable. CM Vallone stated We cant stop it


even if I vote against it, the Council will vote for it.

Versus
The Truth

- The Education Committee of CB11 can make a great impact by recommending to CB


11 to vote against this proposed school.
- CB 11 can make a great impact by voting against this proposed school and deny this
project any claim of having community support.
- No member of the City Council will vote for anything in a colleagues district that the
colleague himself/herself does not endorse.
- Council members can arrange for their colleagues to vote in favor of projects in their
district which they themselves will vote against for political cover (e.g. Keil Brothers).
- An investigation concerning conflicts of interest and possible illegalities emanating
from this deal is already underway and could affect this deal.
- An organized and large placement of public comments to the SCA prior to November
20th would serve as evidence of community opposition.
- Senator Avella has already filed complaints with the Attorney General citing
irregularities in this sale. He is seeking to hear from local residents concerning a
possible class action suit to halt this process and abandon this project.
- Assemblyman Braunstein and Congress Member Meng have already contacted the
SCA to abandon this project.
- Direct appeals to Melissa Mark-Viverito (Speaker of the City Council) and to CM Daniel
Dromm (Chair Education Committee) and to CM David Greenfield (Chair Land Use
Committee) can result in the proposal being tabled.
- Direct appeals to Mayor Di Blasio can result in the proposal being vetoed if it passes
the City Council.
LEADS TO:

Conclusion #7

This is not inevitable and community input should not be limited to picking out carpet
samples. However, time is limited.

Fiction #8

At various times, CM Vallone has portrayed his interest in this project


as him trying to save the community from a social services agency,
as trying to save the community from the SCAs disregard, and as
trying to bring something new, needed and attractive to the
community.
Versus

The Truth

- CM Vallone is fully aware that the community does not want this project and does not
trust any promises or assurances issued to them by the SCA.
- CM Vallone is fully aware that current SCA and DOE data shows this project is not
currently needed and that SCAs projections show that any such construction will not be
needed for at least the next five years.
- CM Vallone is aware that this project can be stopped and even claims credit for
stopping the building of a high school in Whitestone (4).
- Prior to his 2013 election, CM Vallone was a registered lobbyist from Constantinople &
Vallone, along with his father and brother (9), a firm whose clients (such as Mega
Contracting and Ahern Construction) have been awarded millions for construction and
rehabilitation work by the SCA. (7) (8) (10) (11).
- Constantinople & Vallone received $1.3 million in fees from developers in 2014. (7). It

shares directors with the law firm Vallone & Vallone Law, LLP. (12).
- The Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) and a group of developers formed a
PAC called Jobs NY in 2013 and spent $370,000 on CM Vallones behalf during the
2013 campaign while also donating heavily to his own campaign fund of $160,000. This
total $530,000 allowed him to outspend his opponent by 550% (6).
- The Nonpartisan watchdog group Common Cause NY cites the money and support
Vallone got from real estate developers as the difference in getting him elected. He
would not have been elected without their money (5).
- CM Vallone is currently listed as Managing Partner of Vallone & Vallone Law, LLP
which shares personnel with Constantinople & Vallone. (12).
LEADS TO:
Conclusion #8

At the very least, the motivation behind CM Vallones advocacy for this $113.6 million
unwanted and unnecessary project is called into question. Any appearance that he is
favoring his business interests over those of his constituents should be avoided. He
should withdraw this proposal.