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City to Shelve Proposal for Citywide Gifted and Talented Program for One Year

For Time Being, P.S. 188 Will Remain Zoned for District 26

A proposal for a citywide Gifted and Talented program at Bayside’s P.S. 188 is being put on hold for a year, the president of Community District Education Council 26 said.

Last month, CDEC 26 members discussed a plan by the city’s Department of Education to transform the school’s current Gifted and Talented into a citywide program.

Some parents with more than one child who already have a student in the program said they were concerned about the proposal. They wondered whether they might have to drop their children off at separate schools in the morning should their second child get shut out of the program.

Others believed the proposal would prevent their children from being able to attend schools in their own district.

But Rob Caloras, president of CDEC 26, told the board’s members at its monthly meeting last night that the DOE’s Division of Portfolio Planning would not pursue the expanded program until 2012.

“They’ll put the citywide program on hold for one year because they will not have time to gather all of our input by then,” Caloras said. “They informed me that public opinion is not necessary, but that they want a public forum.”

He said the DOE would not likely send anyone to meet with the education council until April due to the fact that the agency is closing 17 schools citywide this year.

Northeast Queens parents said they were upset at the proposal to turn P.S. 188’s Gifted and Talented into a citywide program.

“Even if I didn’t have a child in the school, I still think this is wrong for District 26,” said Michele Cespedes, who is the parent of a P.S. 188 student. “We don’t want it to turn citywide.”

At last month’s meeting, Caloras said the school’s current program would only be replaced if there were high demand and that there is currently no definite plan to do so.

Under the citywide program, Gifted and Talented students already at P.S. 188 would remain at the school until completing fifth grade.

To gain entry into the program, students must score in the 97th percentile.

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