District 24 rezoning will shuffle seats, cut back overcrowding
by Daniel Bush
Jan 25, 2011 | 1818 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The city will rezone the southern portion of District 24 to make room for a grade expansion at I.S. 119 and alleviate overcrowding at nearby schools, under a plan that is close to completion.

The proposal targets kindergarten enrollment, cutting seats at some schools, such as P.S. 239 and P.S. 81, which have the worst overcrowding problems, while expanding those in other schools, including P.S. 88 and P.S./I.S. 119, where a new kindergarten class of 49 students is expected this fall.

At a meeting in Glendale, Department of Education (DOE) officials said the idea was to spread enrollment more evenly throughout the district, while carving out a new zone for I.S. 119, which will draw students previously zoned for P.S. 91.

Their presentation came just one week before most schools begin kindergarten registration, angering some parents who said they were given no time to consider the proposal.

“I would like to see what else could have been done instead of shifting all these families around,” said Nelcia Shobelsky, who is hoping her children can attend P.S. 113 together.

Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley opposed the rezoning, saying it should wait until the DOE finishes building a new high school on the site of a former Rite Aid in Ridgewood.

“I'm not happy with this proposal,” Crowley said. “I believe we should wait a year or two before the new school is built before we do a big rezoning.”

In response to concerns from Crowley and others, the proposal was tweaked slightly, reinstating a few blocks in P.S./I.S. 113 that would have gone to I.S. 119. Also, P.S. 91's expansion was cut back by one block.

Beyond that, the plan will go forward largely unchanged and on schedule. Community Education Council 24 is expected to approve the plan this week, after this paper goes to press.

There was talk of postponing the vote to give residents more time to review the plan and propose changes to it, but Nick Comaianni, the council's president, said that would not be necessary, though he did level criticism at the DOE for not presenting the proposal sooner.

“It's not a bad plan,” he said. “You're never going to make everyone happy.”

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