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City to Unveil Zone for New Morton Street Middle School

By Danielle Tcholakian | February 22, 2016 9:53am
 A huge swath of District 2 has no zoned middle school. The Community Education Council president says it's because
A huge swath of District 2 has no zoned middle school. The Community Education Council president says it's because "a certain segment of the population" didn't want their kids going to school with kids who live in project housing.
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Community Education Council District

WEST VILLAGE — City officials are expected to propose a zone for the new middle school coming to 75 Morton St. at a public meeting on Thursday — specifying geographic boundaries that will determine which Manhattan families are guaranteed seats in the new school.

75 Morton is expected to open in September 2017. It will be the newest middle school in Manhattan's District 2.

The district is the largest in the borough, spanning Lower Manhattan, Midtown and the Upper East Side. It has a handful of zoned schools guaranteeing seats to students in specific areas.

But there is no zoned school for a large swath of Midtown West, meaning families that live in that area — many of whom are lower-income than the rest of the largely affluent district — do not have a school that guarantees their children a seat.

Some critics suspect this was done by the city intentionally, and has resulted in a segregated school, both by race and socio-economic status.

At a previous meeting of the District 2 Community Education Council, Department of Education officials indicated that while the middle school is in the West Village, they may draw the zone to encompass that portion of the district.

READ MORE: City Eyes Swath of Midtown for Students at West Village Middle School

This is the favored outcome of many of the parents and locals who have taken an interest in the school's development over the years.

At a recent forum, more than 100 parents and locals were asked to weigh in on various admissions factors. A subsequent report of those findings revealed a desire for strong but not accelerated academics, socioeconomic diversity reflective of the district at large and a range of test-taking and learning styles (rather than those focused on the highest-scoring testers or best grades).

READ MORE: Parents Want Admissions Process at 75 Morton St. to Promote Diversity

After the Department of Education presents its desired zone to the District CEC at the Thursday meeting, which is open to the public, the CEC will hold three public meetings in March to allow members of the public to weigh in on the proposal.

DOE officials previously said they hope to present a final plan for the zone in early April. The CEC will then have 45 days to vote to approve the plan, or vote against it.

At least six of the 10 CEC members must approve it in order for it to be implemented.

Thursday's Community Education Council meeting will be held at P.S. 3 at 490 Hudson St. in the West Village. It will begin at 6:30 p.m., and the zone presentation is expected to be the first item on the agenda.