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DOE Unveils Plan to Shift Chelsea and West Village School Zones

By Mathew Katz | October 9, 2012 8:46am

MANHATTAN — The Department of Education will present a plan this week to re-draw the boundaries of school zones in Chelsea and the West Village, after an attempt to do so last year fell apart amid community outrage.

The new zones, triggered by the opening of a new school at the Foundling Hospital site in September 2014, will be unveiled at a meeting of District 2's Community Education Council at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday. The zones have to be redrawn to fairly distribute the additional seats.

The meeting at P.S. 40, at 319 E. 19th St., will give the CEC its first chance to see the proposal. The plan will likely change the zones for P.S. 3, P.S. 41, P.S. 11 and P.S. 130, in addition to creating a new zone for the Foundling School.

Last year's DOE proposal for Chelsea, Midtown West, Greenwich Village and TriBeCa was hugely unpopular among parents when it was announced, and the department eventually gave up on many of the changes, particularly ones that upset parents with toddlers who were set to start kindergarten in 2012.

City officials are proposing the new zones so far in advance because of concerns raised by parents who wanted more time to give feedback before any changes kicked in, members of the CEC said.

The plan will not touch Downtown school zones, despite parents' complaints of overcrowding in the area, particularly at TriBeCa's popular P.S. 234.

The DOE had proposed moving the zone for P.S. 11 to include all families living north of 14th Street and splitting the West Village into two separate school zones for P.S. 3 and 41.

The CEC rejected the proposal for Chelsea and the Village last year, but members expect the DOE to bring back at least one idea from that proposal: creating separate zones for P.S. 3 and P.S. 41. The schools currently share one zone, allowing parents to choose between them.

"I anticipate the...rezoning will be similar to what DOE proposed last year, but that CECD2 may be more receptive if the 'effective date' is synchronized with the opening of Foundling," CEC member Michael Markowitz wrote in an email.

The parents' organization, which must approve any rezoning proposals, has previously asked for any change to the P.S. 3/41 zone to be a separate matter from the new Foundling zone, but it's unclear if DOE officials will listen to that request.

Once the plans are out, the CEC will have two public hearings to gather community feedback. The first will be at 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 24, at a location to be determined, and the second will be at 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 30th at P.S. 130, 143 Baxter St.