UPPER WEST SIDE — A frustrated man was nearly thrown out of an Upper West Side school rezoning meeting Monday after speaking out of turn during a discussion about redrawing catchments areas.
The Department of Education and Community Education Council 3 held a public hearing Monday at P.S. 87 on West 77th Street to share plans to redraw lines that determine which elementary schools neighborhood children attend.
Currently, the CEC is weighing three different proposals and will make a final decision in November, members said.
But before the official public comment period began Monday, Lincoln Towers resident Tom Kranidas stood up in the audience and began speaking, interrupting CEC members.
"We have heard 10 minutes, which merely has confused us and muddied the waters," he said.
"You're out of order; please sit down and wait until I finish," responded CEC member Kim Watkins during an exchange in which she repeatedly tried to quiet Kranidas.
He refused to stop talking or sit down, prompting Watkins to ask DOE Superintendent Ilene Altschul to summon a police officer to remove him from the meeting.
When a police officer walked over, Kranidas had by then stopped talking and taken his seat. He appeared to wave the officer away and she left without removing him.
Kranidas remained quiet until it was his turn to speak and he began his statement by apologizing for speaking loudly and disrupting the meeting.
Like many other residents of Lincoln Towers', Kranidas shared his frustration that the DOE is considering removing two of the condo complex's buildings — 165 and 185 West End Ave. — from the P.S. 199 school zone and adding them to the P.S. 191 zone.
"The data presented at the beginning of this meeting seemed only to obfuscate the basic issues — which is, why are you gerrymandering 165 and 185 [West End Ave.]?" he said.
"[T]he idea of excising part of a cohesive community seems to be ridiculous."
Other residents testified that Lincoln Towers was a special intergenerational community, with one mother from the complex saying the debate over zoning lines has left her and her neighbors "exhausted, upset, angry."
The DOE has not yet drawn a map for the third zoning scenario, which it only released last week.
It is not clear whether Lincoln Towers' 165 and 185 West End Avenue buildings would remain part of the P.S. 199 zone under that plan.