The start of the school year means it’s School Week here on Brownstoner.
The children are coming! As the Brooklyn population swells and the residential units created in Brooklyn’s ongoing development boom continue to fill, the borough is seeing a stretch of its amenities — including in the realm of education.
With limited funding, the Department of Education (DOE) can only afford to buy or build so many new buildings to house incoming students. But with or without new infrastructure, a common tactic used by the DOE is to rezone schools to move children from overcrowded districts and into less-crowded ones.
Rezonings to balance enrollment can be popular — and sometimes controversial. Here’s a look at four recent and big DOE rezonings at Brooklyn elementary schools.
Park Slope’s incredibly popular — and overcrowded — P.S. 321 and P.S. 107 received hugely controversial rezonings in 2012. While parents on exiled blocks protested loudly, in the end District 14 Community Education Council approved the rezoning, prioritizing the school’s overcrowding problem over local complaints and calling the move “imperfect but necessary.”
“My daughters would be an experiment,” the parent of two children being zoned out of P.S. 321 told the Times in October 2012. The zoning has since been approved and enacted, with little fuss or fanfare from parents or the media after the fact.
P.S. 321. Photo via Wikipedia
A more recent rezoning in District 15 was far more popular, according to media coverage at the time. In the 2014 proposal, four elementary schools in the Windsor Terrace and Kensington area were rezoned — P.S. 130, P.S. 131, P.S. 154, and P.S. 230.
The elementary schools had their zones respectively shrunk and expanded to reduce the need to bus students. As well, P.S. 130 was divided into two buildings to better accommodate increased numbers of students. The district also got a new middle school.
A year out from the rezoning, though, at least one parent was not pleased. Windsor Terrace resident and Times staff writer Charles Duhigg said the property value of his home had gone down since being redistricted out of P.S. 154. He spoke during a question and answer session on affordable housing at the Times’ Cities for Tomorrow Conference Brownstoner attended earlier this year.
P.S. 154. Photo via Google
A similar situation played out in Bay Ridge’s District 20 where, starting in 2012, new schools were approved and built for the chronically overcrowded district. The affected P.S. 170, P.S. 69, P.S. 105, P.S. 127, and P.S. 176, were rezoned to accommodate two new schools.
The rezoning was approved by a unanimous vote from the Community Education Council, reflecting a broader approval of the new schools from the District 20 community.
P.S./IS 30. Photo via Google
Lastly, in a current, controversial rezoning, Dumbo and Vinegar Hill’s P.S. 8 and P.S. 307 have been rezoned to compensate for P.S. 307’s space availability and P.S. 8’s overcrowding. While a solid attempt at balancing numbers in theory, the rezoning to 307 caught some P.S. 8 families off guard.
Photo via Dumbo Parents
P.S. 8 Rezoning Coverage [Brownstoner]
P.S. 321 Rezoning Coverage [Brownstoner]
DOE Unveils Plan for New Middle School and Rezoning in District 15 [DNA]
District 20 Council Votes to Rezone Bay Ridge Schools [Eagle]
Top photo by Dumbo NYC