School Rezoning to Assuage Overcrowding Surprises Dumbo and Vinegar Hill Parents

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    A summertime school switch-up has Dumbo and Vinegar Hill parents reeling. New boundaries have been drawn for the overcrowded, but high-achieving P.S. 8, rezoning many students to the less crowded, albeit less elite P.S. 307, school officials revealed this week.

    While better balancing the quantity and diversity of students at each school, the change-up does little to assure improved quality. First, some details of how the student makeup might change under the new rules.

    P.S. 8’s current student body is 66 percent white, a number expected to rise to 75 percent with the new boundaries. Meanwhile, P.S. 307’s current student body is 95 percent minority, a number expected to decrease to 55 to 65 percent with the influx of students previously zoned for P.S.8, the Brooklyn Paper reported.

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    P.S. 307 in Vinegar Hill. Photo by Dumbo NYC

    But for those with children rezoned from P.S. 8 to 307, 2015 test results do little to assuage fears of a major education-quality disparity between the schools. In 2015, 64.1 percent of students at P.S. 8 passed the English Language Arts (ELA) Exam, and 63 percent passed the Math Exam. The same year, only 11.7 percent of students at P.S. 307 passed the ELA Exam, and 20.3 percent passed the Math exam.

    Application numbers also speak to the schools’ respective popularity within the community. According to local schools blog Dumbo Parents, P.S. 8 received 162 kindergarten applications for the 2015-2016 school year, while P.S. 307 received just 17 from in-zone students.

    Parents interviewed by the Brooklyn Paper and Eagle said they weren’t necessarily opposed to the rezoning, but were surprised by the last-minute notice of the details given to families whose school has been changed. “This kind of all happened over the summer, and I would say the majority of parents and the community of 307 don’t know what’s going on,” P.S. 307 dad Clifford Dodd told the Brooklyn Paper.

    The plan was cleared between city officials and an interim principal at P.S. 307, who began in July.

    Though rezoning P.S. 8 and P.S. 307 may assuage some negative aspects of overcrowding for now, with the ongoing development boom along the area’s waterfront, the amount of school space needed is likely only to grow in coming years.

    City Plans to Cut Dumbo, Vinegar Hill Out of P.S. 8 School Zone [BK Paper]
    Dumbo to Be Rezoned for P.S. 307 to Address P.S. 8 Overcrowding [Dumbo Parents]
    Draft Plan for Brooklyn’s P.S. 8 and P.S. 307 Rezoning Revealed [Eagle]
    Top photo by Dumbo Parents

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