19 Aug 2014
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Parents Concerned About P.S. 98 Enrollment Numbers

This fall, the Douglaston school will lose teachers as well as combine its two 2nd and 5th grade classes.

Parents Concerned About P.S. 98 Enrollment Numbers

Parents of students said they are concerned about the school’s lower enrollment numbers for the upcoming year, the loss of two teachers and a plan to combine its 2nd and 5th grade classes.

Parent Teacher Association President Alim Gafar said some community residents wonder how the city’s Department of Education will react to a reduction in students at the school.

“The community is worried that if we get lower enrollment numbers, the DOE might change the school’s configuration and, perhaps, not keep it exclusively as a neighborhood school,” he said.

The school’s principal could not immediately be reached for comment.

P.S. 98 had a student body of 280 pupils last year, but that number dropped to 232 students in the 2011-2012 school year.

Currently, there are only 216 students enrolled for the upcoming school year.

Gafar said one reason for the reduction in students is that P.S. 98 does not have an after school program. The nearby offers a replacement program, where students can take part in after school activities.

Also, parents have long complained that the school does not get its fair share of resources from the DOE. Gafar said P.S. 98 only gets $4,085 per child to pay its budget.

“After paying salaries, we have no money left over for programs,” he said. “My hope is that in the future, the DOE administration takes a look at our school and realizes that the funding formula doesn’t work properly for a school like ours.”

This fall, the school will combine its two 2nd grade classes, which have a total 32 registered students for the upcoming semester, into one class as well as merge its two 5th grades classes, which have a total 33 registered students.

“The 2nd and 5th grade classes are being combined and two very good teachers are losing their jobs,” said parent Douglas Montgomery, who is also a member of the school’s PTA and Community Board 11. “It’s a very big problem for our community.”

P.S. 98 will also drop two teachers for the 2012-2013 school year.

“We are losing teachers due to budgetary reasons – and  not based on performance – that is directly related to a reduction in enrollment,” Gafar said.

We’d love to hear from parents of P.S. 98 students. Are you concerned about the school’s enrollment numbers? Please post your comments in the section provided below.

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