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West 68th Street Residents Demand to Stay in P.S. 199 School Zone

By Emily Frost | October 26, 2015 3:39pm
 Residents along West 68th Street are angry their street would be zoned out of P.S. 199, one of the highest-performing schools in the district.
Residents along West 68th Street are angry their street would be zoned out of P.S. 199, one of the highest-performing schools in the district.
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Department of Education

UPPER WEST SIDE — A group of residents is demanding their blocks remain zoned for one of the most highly regarded elementary schools in the district under a Department of Education proposal — rather than for schools they say don't perform as well and have safety issues. 

Under the new zoning proposal, which is up for a vote by Community Education Council 3 on Nov. 19, children living on West 68th Street would be zoned to go to P.S. 452 or P.S. 191, rather than P.S. 199 as they are currently. 

The change not only affects children's education — as of September 2016, incoming kindergartners won't go to P.S. 199 if the proposal is accepted — but also property values for parents and non-parents alike, the West 68th Street Block Association argued.

Furthermore, "it's because of our buildings, which have funded and contributed to P.S. 199 for decades, that it is as successful as it is today," the association added.

The group is pushing residents to show up at upcoming discussions held by the CEC and Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña to voice their displeasure, as well as sign a petition launched on Oct. 24 calling for a rejection of the zoning plan. 

If the plan is adopted, residents on the north side of West 68th Street from Central Park West to Columbus Avenue would be zoned to attend P.S. 452 on West 77th Street. Residents on the south side of the block would attend P.S. 191 on West 61st Street. 

Additionally, all West 68th Street residents living between Columbus and Amsterdam avenues would be zoned to attend P.S. 191 under the plan.

The association believes it "deserves" to have students from the block stay at P.S. 199, adding that P.S. 191 is "one of the lowest enrollment and lowest ranking schools in New York City" and was also designated a "persistently dangerous" school by the state, the petition says. 

It also argues that P.S. 452 is farther away and not as good of a school as P.S. 199.

"The DOE and the CEC3 cannot do this to our community! We are a unified street and our community benefits our children in ways the DOE hasn't factored into their arbitrary zoning lines," wrote one resident on the petition. 

"There are other ways to address the overcrowding of P.S. 199, without removing our community from our community school," the petition concludes, without delving into potential solutions. "We want to be heard!" 

The next meeting to discuss the zoning plan will be held Monday, Oct. 26, at 6:30 p.m. at 154 W. 93rd St. 

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