Parents Group Opposes Park Slope School Rezoning


Park Slope parents have created a group to fight the proposed school rezoning and are collecting signatures to support their cause, DNAinfo reported. Here’s the Coalition of Residents for Fair Rezoning proposal: Families who move out of the zone should no longer be permitted to send their kids to P.S. 321. The Department of Education should also better enforce the rules against fake addresses, they said. The St. Thomas Aquinas building that has been designated as a new K-5 school should be used as a pre-K and kindergarten for all students from P.S. 107 and 321, which would immediately relieve overcrowding. In addition, the DOE could create a new magnet and/or themed school with special programs that parents would voluntarily choose over P.S. 321. This approach would reward families who still live in the area. Because P.S. 321 is so valued, it’s common practice for parents to rent or buy in Park Slope until their children are established at the school, then move someplace more affordable. In fact, said the Coalition, the current policy creates “perverse incentives” that encourage families to move away, resulting in as many as 30 to 40 percent of children in each classroom living outside the neighborhood, and just feeds the overcrowding problem. A town hall meeting about education issues was held Monday night at M.S. 51. It was hosted by City Councilman Brad Lander.
Parents Rally Against Park Slope School Rezoning Proposal [DNAinfo]
Photo of P.S. 321 by carolynfisher96

101 Comment

  • I don’t know what the fuss is – it seems eminently fair that people who no longer live within the zoned area get to keep their kids in the school but people who have lived and continue to live in the zoned area…don’t.

    Whats the issue?

  • This happened when I was a kid, and the kids just switched schools. There was no grandfathering. I’m not saying that’s right or wrong, just that these families aren’t the first families to have to deal with redistricting.

    If I understand the post, the whole things about getting a spot in the school and then moving away is allowable under the current system? That just seems like a way to cheat.

  • I absolutely agree that children who move out of the district should not be allowed to remain in the school. The DOE needs to change the regulation that children whose family move can remain in the school until the terminal grade. Changing this will also alleviate the middle school crunch. As long as a child is enrolled in a District 15 school there is no distinction made between one who lives in Park Slope or Ditmas Park when it comes to placement. This is also a reason why parents keep their children enrolled in District 15 schools. Wait until these parents’ children are denied a spot at 51, Math and Science, New Voices, etc. when children who live outside of the district are accepted.

  • I disagree with you all. There are many renters in Brooklyn who move around not by choice (when rents get exorbitant, landlords repossess the apartments, etc.) So now along with the housing disruption, you all support exiling a kid from a school where all their friends go and where they are comfortable? And where the parents have been active members of the school community? Booting out kids who happen to move a neighborhood or two away seems way more disruptive to community, parent involvement and cohesive schools, solely to benefit the richest in our community (homeowners.)

    • Raising children in NYC has its pros and cons, and the fact that you might have a less-stable living situation than you would if you had a house in the suburbs is one of them. It seems unfair that parents who purchase a house in a specific zone and pay up because the price of the local public school is factored into the price of the house might now not be able to send their child to the school that they believed they were paying for, while someone who moved out of the neighborhood will. While leaving an established community is a concern, it’s also worth noting that most children experience switching schools at some point in their lives and that they’re a bit more adaptable than it seems you are giving them credit for.

      That said, I believe that this is a city-wide law, so the odds of them overturning it in just one neighborhood seem a bit unlikely anyway.

      • Unfortunately, when you buy property, there is no guarantee the school zones will stay the same or that the school you regard as excellent today will remain so, etc. It’s just one of the risks you have to take when you buy. Rezoning happens all the time. I have no idea why people think the new school won’t be good enough for their precious heirs. It’s the same basic demographics if that matters, and let’s not pretend it doesn’t. Nobody says you have a right to a specific public school, your right is to a pubic school. From what I understand PS321 is more than 150% capacity. Something has to give. I have no idea why they don’t just do a lower school/upper school to appease the angry masses, but apparently that is not going to happen.

    • Raising children in NYC has its pros and cons, and the fact that you might have a less-stable living situation than you would if you had a house in the suburbs is one of them. It seems unfair that parents who purchase a house in a specific zone and pay up because the price of the local public school is factored into the price of the house might now not be able to send their child to the school that they believed they were paying for, while someone who moved out of the neighborhood will. While leaving an established community is a concern, it’s also worth noting that most children experience switching schools at some point in their lives and that they’re a bit more adaptable than it seems you are giving them credit for.

      That said, I believe that this is a city-wide law, so the odds of them overturning it in just one neighborhood seem a bit unlikely anyway.

    • I have to disagree. I have no children, but I did go to a Magnet school in LA. In order to attend (among the tests, yes) was that you had to live in the parish (what we call a district.) There were several students that used extended family addresses as their mailing address, if they didn’t live in the parish. When they were caught, they had to leave. It’s that simple. It sucks, but so do a lot of things in life.

      PS 321 is a public school. A desirable one yes, but it is part of the system and if we’re to have an equitable one, then it’s unfair to allow those gaming the system. And yes, moving b/c your rent is too high but schooling in the old district is gaming the system.

    • This is standard in school districts outside of the city, if you move out you need to go to your local school. Why would this be different here, I guess new Yorkers feel entitled.

  • I disagree with you all. There are many renters in Brooklyn who move around not by choice (when rents get exorbitant, landlords repossess the apartments, etc.) So now along with the housing disruption, you all support exiling a kid from a school where all their friends go and where they are comfortable? And where the parents have been active members of the school community? Booting out kids who happen to move a neighborhood or two away seems way more disruptive to community, parent involvement and cohesive schools, solely to benefit the richest in our community (homeowners.)

  • isn’t it a system-wide rule allowing kids to continue at school post moving out of area? if so, there’s NFW they simply change it just for this district and if this is to be system-wide, there’ll be other louder voices arguing against it

  • “you all support exiling a kid from a school where all their friends go and where they are comfortable?”

    of course they do, as long as their kid gets to go there.

  • from Chancellor’s Regulation A-101:

    11. Students in grades K through 12 who change residence within New York City are entitled to remain in their current school until completion of the terminal grade. Students may not be transferred to their zoned school or district of residence because of disciplinary or academic problems except pursuant to the procedures set forth in Chancellor’s Regulation A-450.

    12. Parents of such elementary and middle school students referenced in Section I. A.10 above for whom the change of residence renders the student ineligible for his/her current school based on his/her new residence are responsible for pupil attendance and punctuality. These students will not become eligible for yellow bus transportation. If attendance or punctuality worsens, the school must work with the student and his/her family to facilitate and support regular attendance and punctuality. If, however, excessive absence and/or lateness continues, and it is in the best interest of the student, the principal may begin the transfer process to an appropriate school which the student is eligible to attend based on his/her new residence..

  • It is a system wide rule and you are right it wont be changed. But it is a detrimental rule….the rule hurts the ‘new’ school. If interested and involved parents move to a new zoned school area, but attend the old school, then the new school loses out on these involved parents and their likely high achieving kids.

  • lots of good schools in district 2

  • I do not support any change in the rules that would force children to change schools when their parents move. Sure, in some cases, especially in that zone apparently, parents game the system, but there are many other reasons people move. For example, some people, even in Park Slope, rent. I get it, a lot of wealthy yuppie types overpaid for coops or houses because they thought they would be guaranteed entry into this particular school. For some people, it is now turning into a losing bet. How shameful that their proposed solution is to kick out kids grandfathered into the school so their kids can take the spaces. Guess what? Your kids were never admitted so have no rights there. None. I do get it. People have gamed the system and won and others have lost. C’est la vie. Seriously though, do you know how stressful it is for elementary school kids to switch schools? The parents who gamed the system did nothing wrong. They followed the rules irrespective of why they moved out of the zone.

    For the record, I do not have kids at PS321 or live in any of the impacted zones. I am just sick of how much entitlement and navel gazing comes from those few square blocks of brownstones.

    By the way, there are plenty of excellent schools in less expensive neighborhoods. Some of them are even diverse.

  • I do not support any change in the rules that would force children to change schools when their parents move. Sure, in some cases, especially in that zone apparently, parents game the system, but there are many other reasons people move. For example, some people, even in Park Slope, rent. I get it, a lot of wealthy yuppie types overpaid for coops or houses because they thought they would be guaranteed entry into this particular school. For some people, it is now turning into a losing bet. How shameful that their proposed solution is to kick out kids grandfathered into the school so their kids can take the spaces. Guess what? Your kids were never admitted so have no rights there. None. I do get it. People have gamed the system and won and others have lost. C’est la vie. Seriously though, do you know how stressful it is for elementary school kids to switch schools? The parents who gamed the system did nothing wrong. They followed the rules irrespective of why they moved out of the zone.

    For the record, I do not have kids at PS321 or live in any of the impacted zones. I am just sick of how much entitlement and navel gazing comes from those few square blocks of brownstones.

    By the way, there are plenty of excellent schools in less expensive neighborhoods. Some of them are even diverse.

  • It is a system wide rule, and it has been in place for years. Additionally, zones are subject to change at any time. The DOE’s website even says that. I understand people may be upset about the rezoning if they paid x amount of dollars for a home in the 321 zone, but the bottom line is that, 321, 107, 39, and 10 are all good schools, and the new school proposed to be formed will likely be a very strong school as well. I am surprised that people are not more concerned about the size of 321 overall, the individual class sizes, and the principal’s statement that the school is at a breaking point. There are other very important factors to consider here.

  • And p.s., the rezoning should not be a surprise to anyone. They have been talking about rezoning 321 for years.

    • It has been talked about for years. Anyone who “paid up” to live in the 321 zone without knowing that the school was badly overcrowded is as much to blame as the school system here. A rezoning was inevitable. The alternative of just sitting back and letting the situation get worse and worse for everyone at the school is hardly acceptable.

  • “P.S. 321 has grown so popular that its enrollment has swelled to an all-time high of 1,453 students as of Wednesday, DOE Director of Planning Carrie Marlin said at Wednesday’s meeting.

    That means P.S. 321 is at 128 percent capacity. Similarly bursting P.S. 107 has enrolled 590 students this year, putting the school at 158 percent capacity.”

    More here:

    http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20121018/park-slope/park-slope-school-zoning-proposal-unveiled-by-doe

    FWIW, we’re talking about 8 blocks being rezoned. The existing zone for P.S. 321 is 52 blocks, which would shrink to 44 blocks under the proposed rezoning.

  • I think DOE need to market the rezoning a little better. They have made it sound like these kids a getting shut out a of a very good school because they live on the wrong block. Instead they need to promote the new school as a new neighorhood school that has just as much offer as PS321 and PS39 with the same involved parents.

  • “I am just sick of how much entitlement and navel gazing comes from those few square blocks of brownstones.”

    Look I am the 1st one to react when people complain and protest things for which they have no legitimate say.
    But this is a potential decision (rezoning and the lines of such) that impacts these people, their kids and their homes directly and significantly, since ultimately this will be decided on a political (and hopefully practical) basis, I don’t know how you can attack people for trying to have a say in the decision.

  • We recently purchased a home in what the the 321 district, that is now being rezoned. As new parents, one of the draws of the house was that it was in the 321 zone. We are extremely disappointed at the rezoning proposal. I’ve noticed a lot of comments about people who didn’t do research on the schools. We did and knew the school was crowded but thought they were building another school on 4th Ave to handle the overflow and that we would be fine. Also, we are not “limousine liberals” just people who worked hard and saved for years to buy a house in nice neighborhood with a good school district. The proposed new school is not in a great location, has little outdoor space and I don’t relish my child being a guinea pig for a start-up school.

    • “I don’t relish my child being a guinea pig for a start-up school.”
      I think that, because the parents affected are not yet involved in the school, they do not yet understand the role the assistant principals play in the quality of 321. They are in large part responsible for the high caliber of teachers at 321, and are the people who aid parents and teachers in dealing with classroom issues. They also bring their own vision and ideas to the school overall. It looks as though one of 321′s A.P.’s will be the new principal and she is terrific – smart, positive, a total leader. Anyone regarding the school as an “experiment” should look at a similar experiment from a few years ago: Brooklyn School of Inquiry. Similar dynamic principal, similar pledge from the DOE to provide the new school with support, enrichments, etc. Yes, they are G&T, but they also have a super-strong PTA despite their small size and far-flung student population.
      Also keep in mind that the modern-day reputation of 321 got its start, in part, as the result of a committed group of Slope parents in the ’70s who got involved and helped turned their school around.

    • “I don’t relish my child being a guinea pig for a start-up school.”
      I think that, because the parents affected are not yet involved in the school, they do not yet understand the role the assistant principals play in the quality of 321. They are in large part responsible for the high caliber of teachers at 321, and are the people who aid parents and teachers in dealing with classroom issues. They also bring their own vision and ideas to the school overall. It looks as though one of 321′s A.P.’s will be the new principal and she is terrific – smart, positive, a total leader. Anyone regarding the school as an “experiment” should look at a similar experiment from a few years ago: Brooklyn School of Inquiry. Similar dynamic principal, similar pledge from the DOE to provide the new school with support, enrichments, etc. Yes, they are G&T, but they also have a super-strong PTA despite their small size and far-flung student population.
      Also keep in mind that the modern-day reputation of 321 got its start, in part, as the result of a committed group of Slope parents in the ’70s who got involved and helped turned their school around.

    • If you purchased in the now proposed rezoned area and knew there would be a new school on 4th Ave, you must have considered that your location would be part of that new school’s zone, no?

      I remember when my daughter was about 2 years old and I called DOE to ask what school we were zoned for and they wouldn’t tell me because they said the zone could easily change before my daughter reached kindergarten age. That possibility has always been disclosed and thus can be factored into the risks in any decision-making.

      • Exactly. This is common knowledge and stated on the zone map at the DOE website. When we registered our son at our local ps, the principal said that in the past everybody in the zone had been accepted, she believed it would stay the same, but she did not make any guarantees. You don’t actually know where you will go until you get an acceptance letter from the school.

    • If you don’t want your kid to be a guinea pig, then public school is not for you! All they do now is treat kids like guinea pigs. Doesn’t matter what school you are in. They have tons of standardized tests and Bloomberg’s so called reforms are exactly what you describe: experimenting with kids. You can always try “school choice” and go for a lottery school like the Brooklyn New School, which is excellent. There’s always charters. Or private school. I am personally happy so far with public schools, but not sure how I will feel about it when our children reach the big standardized testing years coming up.

      • “school choice” itself is an experiment with kids. maybe not so much in D15, but you better believe it’s an experiment…currently, mainly in terms of what happens to the zoned schools that are not “choice.”

        boerum hill, your stats are wrong. ps 321 is 72% white, 7% asian, 8% black, 10% hispanic, on the aggregate, but my guess is even less diverse at the lower grades. the DOE posts up-to-date register information on its website.

        i support the right of these parents to protest, and to ask for a better process. but on the merits, they’re dead wrong. the schools are overcrowded and the DOE could just let them take waiting lists and push kids to other schools, and they’d be traveling across town, like happens in manhattan. instead of opening a new zoned school, with staff from ps 321, tons of resources, and a protected bubble of a school zone, they could just open up a success academy at st. thomas – i’m sure the DOE would love to! the demographics do not support the pre-k and k idea.

        as for people “gaming” the system by moving after they get established in the zoned school – it’s not a game if it’s built right in. mobility is a bad thing for schools, and a bad thing for kids. beyond that, and the DOE (and national trend) is away from segregation of schools based on residence, so i’m pretty sure this one is a total nonstarter. i do think there should have been resources attached to the new condo developments, but i’m not seeing how that would have avoided the current fight.

    • Hi there,

      I am a reporter covering this story from a real estate perspective for the Wall Street Journal. Would you be interested in talking to me? If so, please email me at kayalat@gmail.com and I can give you some more info. Thanks! Kaya Laterman

  • Many of the arguments made on the Coalition’s website were brought up at the meeting on Monday. A lot of their points, such as – the new school will soon be overcrowded itself, or that there won’t be arts/music/special ed. classes available at first, were convincingly refuted by the DOE people at the meeting.
    In my 11 years as a public school parent, that was the first time I’ve been to a meeting of angry parents confronting the DOE and been on the DOE’s side rather than the parents’.
    I do sympathize with them, but the whole “fairness” issue bugs me. I don’t think it’s fair when people rent in the 321 zone with the deliberate intent of staying just through the kindergarten year, but I think the more common and equally unfair scenario is that people intend to raise their families in the Slope but are forced to move by high rents. This is just my own personal observation and no claim to it being anything but, but in all of my kids’ classes, any kids who fit under the schools’ shrinking umbrella of diversity all lived out of zone.
    I also don’t think it was fair to allow developers to take advantage of the local schools’ reputation, jack up their condo prices, and give back nothing but an overpopulation problem to that zoned school.
    Many of those upset parents are living in condo buildings that have a lot of “starter” 2 bedroom units. Their families will eventually outgrow their apts and they’ll be in the same boat as the people they’re railing against.

    I really do hope more info comes out about the new school soon. With the few details I’ve heard, it sounds like a big plus for the neighborhood.

  • But Brooklyn5, I’m not sure how the “new 4th ave school for overflow” that you knew about differs from the new school currently being proposed. In fact, the new school is exactly what you describe – a new school on 4th Avenue to deal with the overflow. What did you think the “overflow” would be? It’s true that this rezoning has been discussed for many years now and everyone I know in Park Slope was well aware that the eastern part of the neighborhood would likely be cut out one day. Sadly, I think there is way too much focus on what is lost and no way near enough focus on what is gained – a new school that could very well be great. I am intimately acquainted with 321 and while it is good, is is not the be all end all and I think it’s really sad that so may parents seem unable or unwilling to see that are great alternatives!

  • realestate but that was psloper’s point and DOEs mistake so far…

    Before they announced this they should have worked out the details of what this new school is, who will attend, who will run/teach in it.

    they are essentially saying to these parents – in 9mo you will be sending your kids to a school that has no administration, no teachers and no information….oh and it may not happen, the decision is being held hostage to the dealings of another school in another district (PS 133/13).

    I happen to think 321 is mediocre at best (given the kids attending) but I don;t blame parents from being upset that 1. They are being zoned out of the school they expected and 2. No real information is available about the school they will be attending.

    BTW the caveat emptor argument is stupid, there was no FORMAL talk about a rezoning of 321 or 107 and even if there was no lines were proposed – so its not like someone moving to the area could have known to pick the new condo on Carroll vs the new condo on 2nd to avoid being rezoned.

    • Caveat emptor is never a stupid argument in buying real estate, because you can never control what will happen outside of your own home. Schools can be rezoned, a hideous condo building can be built across from you blocking your view of the harbor, the neighbors you like can sell to a bunch of drug dealers, your block could be designated as part of a historic district, your congressional seat can be redistricted, etc. You can only try to minimize the risks, but you can never negate them completely. In this case, everybody knows these schools in Park Slope are overcrowded so a little foresight would indicate something would eventually have to give. The new school will probably be fine so why all the angst?

    • Caveat emptor is never a stupid argument in buying real estate, because you can never control what will happen outside of your own home. Schools can be rezoned, a hideous condo building can be built across from you blocking your view of the harbor, the neighbors you like can sell to a bunch of drug dealers, your block could be designated as part of a historic district, your congressional seat can be redistricted, etc. You can only try to minimize the risks, but you can never negate them completely. In this case, everybody knows these schools in Park Slope are overcrowded so a little foresight would indicate something would eventually have to give. The new school will probably be fine so why all the angst?

  • how’s the middle school in the district here?

  • I don’t know why everyone is so pissed. Its not like they are proposing a new bike lane

  • I don’t know why everyone is so pissed. Its not like they are proposing a new bike lane

  • If the overcrowded is caused by new development, then it seems to me that the fair thing to do is to consider the impact on school distracting before permits are issued for new construction and, if necessary, adjust zoning for new buildings before they are built. I mean, you wouldn’t allow a building to go up if there was no electrical or sewer capacity for it — why is this any different?

    • Well, this is Bloomberg’s NYC and this is how things have been done. Give a lot of tax abatements out to shady real estate developers who hire shady contractors (i.e. Boymelgreen) to build poorly constructed, ugly, overpriced condos everywhere, but don’t invest in any new infrastructure to support the new population growth. Besides, Bloomberg wants to expand charter schools and kill existing public schools, so why would his administration plan for new schools when they will be eventually destroyed by charters anyway?

    • “I mean, you wouldn’t allow a building to go up if there was no electrical or sewer capacity for it” Oh no? Check out Atlantic Yards.- all that planned construction was approved with no regard for sewers, electric, Fire Department coverage, OR schools.

  • I just love these limousine liberals who celebrate diversity, except when it comes time to place their precious children in an elementary school. Is 321 100% white yet?

    And a kid whose last name is Gonzales, but has an Irish mother and lives in a house where nobody speaks Spanish, is white, not Hispanic.

  • I just love these limousine liberals who celebrate diversity, except when it comes time to place their precious children in an elementary school. Is 321 100% white yet?

    And a kid whose last name is Gonzales, but has an Irish mother and lives in a house where nobody speaks Spanish, is white, not Hispanic.

  • suburbandude

    Congratulations – you killed the strawman

  • Don’t tell anybody, but I heard a nasty little rumor that some French speakers move to Carroll Gardens and rent for a year so they can get their kids grandfathered into PS58′s dual language program.

  • jaguar – its stupid in the manner it is being argued.

    Yes people living in/moving to Park Slope should have /could have been aware that the schools were crowded and that a re-zoning could occur.
    But first – not everyone who is effected by this rezoning moved here during a period of time that the schools were overcapacity.
    Second – knowing that a rezoning is possible is vastly different than being given notice and information on the school you will be zoned too
    and Third – the lines were never stated so now that they are it is totally reasonable for the effected parents to try to influence the boundaries.

    I have little doubt that this new school (assuming more or less limited to the zoned area) will in short order be a terrific school that will enhance property values – but arguing it like ‘ hey you knew this could happen so STFU and accept it’ is STUPID.

    • I actually pretty much agree with you. My only real problem with this whole situation is that people want rules to change in order to accommodate future students, and the amount of media attention anything in Park Slope generates. Things like this are happening all over the city. For some reason nobody cares unless it happens in Park Slope. And, I still maintain that when people buy property, any property, there is always the chance that schools will be rezoned or that there won’t be a space for everybody. This is common knowledge. You have to hedge your bets. Sure, pay more for a desirable school zone but realize your kids might not be able to get a seat there. I definitely researched schools including how crowded they were before I bought my place. I would not have bought in a zone with an overcrowded and/or poor school. The blocks that will be rezoned out of PS321 are still in district 15. It’s a great district. Their property values are still propped up by that fact. The kids are only in elementary school for, what, 5 or 6 years? District 15 middle schools are excellent. The whole system sucks anyway with the zones and districts and the fact that you can live a block from a school you aren’t zoned for and be required to take your kid a mile away for the one you are zoned for. Everything is overburdened, because in 20 years of Republican control of NYC, nobody has decided to spend any real money on building new schools. You think people in Park Slope have it bad? Can you imagine living in Sunset Park and having to deal with those criminally overcrowded schools? Who is standing up for them? People in Park Slope? I didn’t think so.

  • jaguar – its stupid in the manner it is being argued.

    Yes people living in/moving to Park Slope should have /could have been aware that the schools were crowded and that a re-zoning could occur.
    But first – not everyone who is effected by this rezoning moved here during a period of time that the schools were overcapacity.
    Second – knowing that a rezoning is possible is vastly different than being given notice and information on the school you will be zoned too
    and Third – the lines were never stated so now that they are it is totally reasonable for the effected parents to try to influence the boundaries.

    I have little doubt that this new school (assuming more or less limited to the zoned area) will in short order be a terrific school that will enhance property values – but arguing it like ‘ hey you knew this could happen so STFU and accept it’ is STUPID.

  • So, in conclusion, Park Slope parents rolled with what Bloomberg was doing as long as it didn’t impact them. Now it is happening to them and they’re out there protesting. It’s too little, too late, and I happen to like that bike path on PPW. It is very useful if you are heading north which you can’t do in the park.

  • My dog in this hunt is a small one in that we’re zoned for PS 39 under both plans, though I was hoping to get my son into kindergarden next year at PS 10 as an out-of-zonee, which will be made a bit harder by the reallocation of some PS 107 blocks. Anyway, I think part of the complaint about the new school is that its boundaries are on the western and southern parts of what has been PS 321′s zone. Demographically, those blocks are overall less affluent, so I think you’re hearing three complaints. One, of course, is that the value of the housing on those blocks will decrease. Well, as others have pointed out, rezoning is always a risk. Two, there will not be as much parental financial support for school extras. That strikes me as a legitimate concern, but again, there’s always a risk of rezoning. Third, it will make PS 321 whiter because people of color are the ones more likely to be rezoned in this plan. I recognize that we’re dealing with a school on 4th Ave., so there is a geographic sense to pulling from either side of that Avenue instead of, say, pulling from 8th Avenue. But anything that increases segregation should give us pause. If rezoning is a necessity, is slicing it up this way really in the best interests of the community as a whole?

  • I’m zoned out and it sucks for my apartment value. But I only have one child and plan to stay in the neighborhood anyway. I’m sure there’s some retiree in the zone that can play “aunt” to my kid for a few thousand dollars and sell us a ConEd bill for a year. As the 321 principal said at the CEC meeting, “If someone says their child is living with an aunt or a grandparent or another relative, we have to believe them.”

    You can rail against the rulebreakers, or you can wise up to the fact that schools are lazy about enforcement because, in the words of Council Brad Lander, it’s “divisive.”

    • Its different out here in the ‘burbs where I am. To stop people gaming, one has to show proof that one is the owner of the property or get an affidavit from the landlord renting. Then you have to show you are the kid’s parent or legal guardian. They are like the Stasi. If you move out down the road into the neighboring village and your school mail gets returned as undelivereable at your previous address – they launch an investigation!

    • Its different out here in the ‘burbs where I am. To stop people gaming, one has to show proof that one is the owner of the property or get an affidavit from the landlord renting. Then you have to show you are the kid’s parent or legal guardian. They are like the Stasi. If you move out down the road into the neighboring village and your school mail gets returned as undelivereable at your previous address – they launch an investigation!

    • Hi there,

      I am a reporter working on an article about this issue for the real estate section of the Wall Street Journal. Would you be interested in talking to me? Please email me at kayalat@gmail.com and I can give you some more info about the article. Thanks! Kaya Laterman

  • Stop whining Slopers! First, no one cares! Your kids are getting NEW f”ing schools! WTF! Say it again – NEW schools. The rest of us have kids with PCBs dripping on their shoulders as they sit in over-crowded filthy classrooms and use bathrooms with no toilet paper, no soap, and often no running water! You really have little to complain about here and should get no sympathy.

    • Then you should be more involved with your kid’s school, if those are infact the condition at the school. You make sound like perents get involved with their childern’s education is a bad thing. One of the reason why schools in Park Slope are doing better is because parents are very involved.

  • Stop whining Slopers! First, no one cares! Your kids are getting NEW f”ing schools! WTF! Say it again – NEW schools. The rest of us have kids with PCBs dripping on their shoulders as they sit in over-crowded filthy classrooms and use bathrooms with no toilet paper, no soap, and often no running water! You really have little to complain about here and should get no sympathy.

  • If families who move out of the area zoned for 321 have to move their kids to new schools, isn’t that potentially the tide that lifts all boats? I mean shouldn’t these relatively affluent gentrifiers get involved with their new local schools and work to improve them? It’s certainly part of the dynamic at PS9 in Prospect Heights — which also has a great principal, it must be said.

    • I don’t disagree that, in the circumstances you suggest, it could lift all boats. But what about when a family moves out of the zone because they are priced out? Doesn’t that have potentially the opposite effect by forcing less affluent children into less well-performing schools?

  • BTW Jaguar – Bloomberg has added approximately 125,000 new seats to the school system – but don’t let facts get in the way of your partisan argument

  • No offense, but the real problem with the rezoning is that ps 321 and ps 107 lose their 40-50% racially integrated blocks to other schools and only keep their 15% and under racially integrated blocks. The only school truly affected in this debacled rezoning plan is PS39 who loses over 20% of their student population and they do not even have an o et crowding issue. 321 and 107 still will have overcrowding & 107 will still have no Pre-k classes. The new school at St. Thomas will also not have a Pre-k & it will take years to built up a PTA that can support the additional programming that is provided in all thd above schools. I would ask the question: why is PS321 do in the DOE’s pocket that everyone else suffers?

  • they should rezone a few more districts in BK. this is the new bike lane threads that can juice post counts for this blog

  • Sounds like a good plan. It would reduce car traffic as well.

  • No offense, but the real problem with the rezoning is that ps 321 and ps 107 lose their 40-50% racially integrated blocks to other schools and only keep their 15% and under racially integrated blocks. The only school truly affected in this debacled rezoning plan is PS39 who loses over 20% of their student population and they do not even have an overcrowding issue. 321 and 107 still will have overcrowding & 107 will still have no Pre-k classes. The new school at St. Thomas will also not have a Pre-k & it will take years to built up a PTA that can support the additional programming that is provided in all thd above schools. I would ask the question: why is the DOE so deep in PS321′s pockets that everyone else suffers?

    • I gotta say, so what if it means some schools are less diverse. That’s the nature of zoned schools, not matter the demographic. NYC isn’t under court order to desegregate schools and any change in racial makeup is a consequence of making rational zoning changes, not the cause for the zoning changes. Demographics of neighborhoods change over time, in all different directions, and neighborhood, zoned school inevitably reflect that change. So what?

    • Hmmm…I’m a parent at 321. A few things

      1) the school is REALLY overcrowded, REALLY overcrowded, kids are no longer able to speak in the halls and have to whisper during part of lunch to deal with noise problems. When I’m in the school I sometimes feel like there’s a fire hazard type of situation.

      2) in terms of the rezone the principal has already said that if they don’t rezone most likely there will be k waiting lists and higher class sizes. Families won’t be guaranteed a spot.

      3) I think it’s crazy if public school parents give up this new school. If we don’t take it, it could easily go to a charter. The proposal now is to have an asst principal from 321, whose quite good, take over with guidance from Liz Phillips. She’ll most likely take some other 321 staff with her.

      4) with all due respect to the PTA, they largely pay for after school programming. This is not what makes the school. Liz Phillips and the teachers make the school. It’s the instruction that sets it apart from some of it’s peers IMHO. The AP has trained here and will take it with her. Remember that new schools get start up funds and should be eligible for grants as well.

      5) the main thing that is upsetting is that they chose to cut the most diverse blocks. I wish that they had down this differently. But given the tide, I doubt these blocks will stay diverse for too long.

      6) you can’t kick kids out a school when families move–it’s city wide policy tomprotect renters and low income kids. Also school instability (ie changing schools) is a predictor of lower academic achievement (in aggregate).

      7) lastly parents get a new facility. 321 is falling apart, it’s dirty. My kids tell me there’s no toilet paper and the bathroom doors don’t lock……

  • Was the 321 upper and lower school proposal given any real consideration either by the doe, parents or politicians?

  • Alternatively, we could make the other shitty schools better.

  • Alternatively, we could make the other shitty schools better.

  • This is quite an outrage that these people would propose not allowing families who move out of the zone to stay at the school. This is a city wide rule designed to protect children who have to move from being displaced from their school community. In most cases, in New York City, families move because of economic hardship. My husband had to move from Queens to the Bronx in his Junior year of High School for purely economic reasons as his family was priced out of the very very modest apartment they had in Queens. He chose to travel from the Bronx to Queens for school because he was not comfortable starting in a new school for many reasons.

    For these people to propose a rule such as this which would apply to only one school (since for other schools it would lead to great suffering of children in this city) is an example of the amazing levels of arrogance. It is an outrage and shows how out of touch people are.

    It is unfortunate that some people will lose out in the rezoning, but PS 10 and PS 39 are both very excellent schools as well and the new school should be great as well if it has good leadership that hires talented teachers.

  • yeah, you can’t really kick kids out once they’re there. i hate a lot of DOE policies but this is one i’m okay with. as a general rule, it protects renters and their protects kids (school mobility is a bad thing, as far as academic performance goes) who might tend to be at the lower end of the relative economic spectrum, the would-be receiving schools (see the foregoing), and the society (excessive administrative and instructional costs of integrating new students constantly). the irony of course is that a rezoning in central park slope would probably be the ideal scenario to mandate that older kids move (they’re more affluent, they’re otherwise stable, their parents will be involved in the new school) but it is politically impossible.

    also, from my purely anecdotal experience, improving less affluent schools through gentrification happens from the ground up – i.e., through families admitted at kindergarten or pre-k who have “chosen” the school through their choice of residence and who are more flexible and ready to accept what true diversity means in a public school. and even there you have families who can’t, or only begrudgingly, or only briefly, handle the challenges posed by a non-homogenous socio-economic population and the DOE itself. that’s the reason the DOE under Bloomberg has been able to drive in the wedge of “school choice” at the elementary level. It’s a whole lot easier to appease the gentrifiers with a new school that is pretty transparently set aside for them than it is to transform a proficient but, say, 80% minority school into one that reflects the “new” neighborhood. at the most basic level, the new schools tend to start with just kindergarten and first grade; give a school some progressive buzzwords (trees! arts! inquiry!) and a lottery and you will pretty much instantly have a school that is twice as white as the zoned schools.

    To be clear, I’m not saying I agree with the DOE’s approach. In fact, i disagree with it wholeheartedly. but I understand why it has gained a few footholds, particularly in this era where parents may have bought in to mixed or gentrifying neighborhoods during the real estate run-up, and now cannot afford to move without downgrading in some way.

  • “give a school some progressive buzzwords (trees! arts! inquiry!) and a lottery and you will pretty much instantly have a school that is twice as white as the zoned schools…”

    <3, well phd. <3. I heart you. Want to start the Arboretum Academy of Artistic Inquiry with me? We can hold all the classes in Fort Greene Park, in sustainable yurts, and teach Tibetan, starting in 1st grade. We can also ask the RAD school for menu tips–and see if Arts & Letters can let us know their recyclable lunch tray supplier. I think it will be important for us to use "knowledge-based learning," because, although that phrase means nothing really, it sounds nice. It will be glorious.

    Okay, here's my (serious) question. Which school gets the booby prize of all that Atlantic Yards housing that might actually get built? 282? 8? 11? Something else?

    Other things: a few people brought up BSI. One thing about BSI, (and I don't know much about BSI, pretty much just that they have a block room and this one thing)–they are a new school that, due to their affluent student body and enthusiastic fund-raising, raise something like 200K a year from their (new) PTA.

    That's not because they're especially wonderful, (although they may be, I don't know)–it's because they have a lot of rich families who are willing to give them money, and an administration and pta willing to ask for it.

    Any school that splinters off from 321 will inherently have the same. There's nothing to whine about here. You guys will have your money, your local zoned school, and you won't even have to put a tree name in the title to get it. Count your blessings and stop whining.

  • “give a school some progressive buzzwords (trees! arts! inquiry!) and a lottery and you will pretty much instantly have a school that is twice as white as the zoned schools…”

    <3, well phd. <3. I heart you. Want to start the Arboretum Academy of Artistic Inquiry with me? We can hold all the classes in Fort Greene Park, in sustainable yurts, and teach Tibetan, starting in 1st grade. We can also ask the RAD school for menu tips–and see if Arts & Letters can let us know their recyclable lunch tray supplier. I think it will be important for us to use "knowledge-based learning," because, although that phrase means nothing really, it sounds nice. It will be glorious.

    Okay, here's my (serious) question. Which school gets the booby prize of all that Atlantic Yards housing that might actually get built? 282? 8? 11? Something else?

    Other things: a few people brought up BSI. One thing about BSI, (and I don't know much about BSI, pretty much just that they have a block room and this one thing)–they are a new school that, due to their affluent student body and enthusiastic fund-raising, raise something like 200K a year from their (new) PTA.

    That's not because they're especially wonderful, (although they may be, I don't know)–it's because they have a lot of rich families who are willing to give them money, and an administration and pta willing to ask for it.

    Any school that splinters off from 321 will inherently have the same. There's nothing to whine about here. You guys will have your money, your local zoned school, and you won't even have to put a tree name in the title to get it. Count your blessings and stop whining.

    • lol! i prefer the “A Tree Grows School of Exploratory Arts,” but we can have the pre-k kids choose between our proposals after they have completed their unit in consensus-building and conflict resolution.

      As to your serious question: the buildings that are scheduled to come on line first are zoned for PS 11. the one they are breaking ground on is not family friendly for multiple reasons, including that it has the vast majority of studios and 1brs…and that it will be pounding with bass any time there is any kind of event at the arena, so who knows how much that would increase school population. if they ever build the other ones, they’d be in PS 9 zone…that’s assuming the DOE hasn’t completely dismantled the zoned schools by then.

      • No, I think you’re right. Anything that plays on “Tree Grows…” will be popular. Everyone loves that book because it has “Brooklyn,” in the title! Plus, I hear it is set in Williamsburg!

        We’ll have to conduct outreach seminars at some yoga studios first. Should we start the Kickstarter campaign now? I’ll have my six-year old start working on the logo.

        Serious response: as you know, both 9 and 11 have undergone some significant population jumps of late. It’s probably worse for 9–they have a bigger building, but they also have a co-located school; but not great for 11 either.

    • lol! i prefer the “A Tree Grows School of Exploratory Arts,” but we can have the pre-k kids choose between our proposals after they have completed their unit in consensus-building and conflict resolution.

      As to your serious question: the buildings that are scheduled to come on line first are zoned for PS 11. the one they are breaking ground on is not family friendly for multiple reasons, including that it has the vast majority of studios and 1brs…and that it will be pounding with bass any time there is any kind of event at the arena, so who knows how much that would increase school population. if they ever build the other ones, they’d be in PS 9 zone…that’s assuming the DOE hasn’t completely dismantled the zoned schools by then.

  • Seems that they have removed one demand – Families who MOVE out of the zone should no longer be permitted to send their kids to P.S. 321 – so now they don’t sound as much like giant a**holes. Might want to verify that.

  • Wow, you all take educating your kids way too seriously.