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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 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.

jacqueline montgomery June 22, 2012 at 12:04 PM
As a concerned parent of PS 98 graduate,i am also concerned for our community and its future parents. PS 98 has been a beacon of great education and it needs to continue. with these cuts, our community's parents may go elsewhere. I would like to add something to Mr. Gafar's statement about an after school replacement.it is in fact a collaboration between Queensborough Community College-Kids College and the Community Church of Douglaston. i will be launching the after school program as a seamless move from 98 to the church site for our students to continue their studies while having fun. we hope that this will help the parents reconsider leaving the community to go elsewhere for their children's educational needs, thereby keeping our community intact. Mr. Gafar, Good Luck & best wishes for the next PTA year! Jacqueline Montgomery Director of Kids College @ QCC.
Anna ssss June 22, 2012 at 03:18 PM
I am a parent of PS 98.we are more concerned about the the bullying situation,and our children safe at school, and enforcing the discipline code.We are tired to heard she said no bully here ,only boys play ,etc.So parents have to had police to came deal with this issue.More than once.We all not happy with this school, this principal(I am sure she is not happy with parents " ,she keep making story.she don't like our kids.How many neighborhood kids left? How many kids planing leaving? Even we going to have after school,that won't be help.No after school that s one of the reason, but another reason is because this school not welcome neighborhood children anymore! the Principal said that the reason PS 98Q has had a decline each year in enrollment, was due to property prices or tax issues in our neighborhood making it too expensive -- not entirely accurate. We know how many kids that left this Douglaston School this year, to attend another local school due to the growing concerns. She also refutes our complaints saying the incidents were “alleged” or accidents due to carelessness.I am sure at 2012-2013 this school will get less student. Alim, you are living at Douglaston,you should know how many neighborhood kids attending at other school.
Jaime June 23, 2012 at 06:28 AM
What appears to be a steady decline in student enrollment at PS98Q is alarming and must be addressed by all who have a stake in the education of our children and the quality of the neighborhood: parents, teachers, administrators, community leaders and residents. It is somewhat disconcerting to read that the Parent Association is passively waiting to see how the Department of Education will "react" rather than take pro-active steps in solving the problem. There does not seem to be a clear picture as to why the enrollment is declining. It would be very helpful to read the principal and the staff's view on this issue. Obviously, there is an after-school program available next door, so it could not entirely account for the lower enrollment. There appear to be some administrative issues in the school but these rarely result in parents removing their children from a school. So there must be other factors: A decline in school-age children in the neighborhhod? Parents choosing parochial schools over public schools? Whatever the reasons, one thing is very clear. The merging of two second grades and two fifth grades resulting in one class of approximately 33 students is educationally unsound and should not be capitulated by either parents or administrators. Our community deserves an excellent school and our children deserve an excellent education. No good teacher should be lost and no educational program discontinued. I'm confident that "The Patch" will follow up with good sources
June June 23, 2012 at 10:08 AM
Alim to say that the school enrollment has declined is because of the After School program is ridiculous. Yes it makes it convenient for parents to keep the children in the school and not have to move them to another location.. Their are problems in the school. The Principal is condescending to parents when they bring issues to her. She needs to be more pro active with the bullying issue. It has been going on for years and she likes to put her head in the sand instead of handling it head on. It has turned off many parents who have left the school in droves. Year after year. For years the school has had low enrollment and the threat to combine classes have been thrown around. The PTA has always had to fight for this not to happen. What are you doing about it, blaming the AfterSchool Program for it is not the answer making noise and trying to bring students from other schools is the answer
Anna ssss June 23, 2012 at 05:31 PM
I agree with you!
Anna ssss June 23, 2012 at 05:47 PM
some kids moved to PS 94.
Autumn October 06, 2012 at 07:36 PM
..More children left the school the last couple weeks from 1st and 3rd grade. Again , the principal was condescending to these parents and did nothing to prevent that.. There are still problems in the school . Can it afford to lose more students ?? I won't be surprised if they collapse another grade soon OR if they start bringing in students from nearby areas.. This community deserves a better and "friendlier" school... real estate will be affected as well in the end if this continues.

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