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City Postpones Unveiling UWS School Rezoning Plan Amid Community Feedback

By Emily Frost | October 18, 2016 3:38pm
 The CEC made a series of recommendations to the DOE, including the re-siting of P.S. 452 to the P.S. 191 building. 
CEC 3 Makes Zoning Recommendations
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UPPER WEST SIDE — The Department of Education has delayed a planned public presentation of its redrawn school zoning lines in the neighborhood, on the heels of a set of demands from local education leaders.

On Wednesday evening, the DOE had promised to present a "final draft scenario" outlining and mapping how it thinks the zoning lines and schools in the district should be shifted, as part of a plan meant to alleviate overcrowding and increase diversity at local schools. 

On Tuesday, however, a DOE spokeswoman said the department would not be presenting the final plan as scheduled — the same day Community Education Council 3 sent a letter to Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña laying out its demands. 

The CEC, which will make the final vote on the rezoning plan, has called for the small West 77th Street school P.S. 452 to be moved to another school building on West 61st Street, allowing the school to grow and add new classes to the district, the letter stated. 

P.S. 452 parents have fought the re-siting plan, arguing they don't want to change the dynamic of their tight-knit community by moving and expanding it.  

Under this proposal, P.S. 191 would move into the new Riverside Center school building opening in 2017 and P.S. 452 would occupy the building that formerly housed P.S. 191. 

In an Oct. 18 letter to Chancellor Carmen Farina, CEC 3 proposed that some zones shrink while others grow. 

The CEC also asked the Department of Education to change the size of the zoning lines for local schools. 

The council called for the P.S. 191 zone to expand up to West 70th Street and West End Avenue so it would include 205 West End Ave. 

This newly expanded P.S. 191 zone would shift students from P.S. 199 to P.S. 191, meaning "61% of the proposed [P.S. 191] zone will be students currently zoned to P.S. 199," the letter said. 

The CEC wants to expand the P.S. 191 zone beyond what the DOE has proposed so that it accommodates "at least 100 kindergarten students (up from current projections of 80-90)," the letter read.

The P.S. 199 zone lines should also be moved so that they include "a significant portion of [NYCHA's] Amsterdam Houses," the letter stated.

Furthermore, buildings along the northwest border of the P.S. 87/P.S.452 zone should be zoned into P.S. 199 to help alleviate overcrowding at P.S. 87, the letter said.

And the P.S. 87 zone should be shrunk down to between 125 and 135 students, the CEC wrote.

The council also showed support for P.S. 9's desire to increase its zone size, P.S. 166's desire to keep or decrease its current zone size, and P.S. 75's desire to maintain its current zone size.

The letter also delves into details of how the DOE must support local schools in these changes, with logistical support like bussing P.S. 452 students to their new school, as well as helping new and re-sited schools with funding and community-building. 

The DOE did not specify why it decided to postpone presenting its final draft plan Wednesday night. 

“We value the CEC’s leadership and partnership, and will continue to solicit feedback, host meetings and engage in robust conversations as we work to submit a final proposal that best serves all of the students and families in District 3," said department spokeswoman Toya Holness.

The CEC 3 meeting will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 19, at 6:30 p.m. at P.S. 75, 735 West End Ave.