As part of a school rezoning plan approved last year, P.S. 191 moved to a new facility in the Riverside Center development. Photo: Richard Khavkine
Preliminary Department of Education data shows the first results of a controversial rezoning plan intended to reduce overcrowding and increase economic and racial diversity at three Upper West Side School elementary schools.
The District 3 rezoning plan approved last year redrew boundaries for elementary schools throughout the Upper West Side, but most significantly impacted three schools: P.S. 191, P.S. 199 and P.S. 452.
P.S. 191, which formerly served residents of the Amsterdam Houses public housing complex and was designated by the state as “persistently dangerous” in 2015, was relocated to a brand new facility in a residential tower in the Riverside Center development at West End Avenue and 61st Street, a half-block west of its former site at 210 West 61st Street. The old P.S. 191 building was taken over by P.S. 452, which moved nearly a mile south from its old location on West 77th Street. The rezoning plan also aimed to reduce class sizes at the severely overcrowded P.S. 199 on West 70th Street by rezoning some families whose children would formerly have attended P.S. 199 to the P.S. 191 zone.
The rezoning, which was approved by the District 3 Community Education Council in November 2016, took effect with this year’s kindergarten classes; students enrolled in the schools prior to the plan’s approval were not affected.
Proponents of the plan said it would result in each school enrolling students from a wider range of racial and economic backgrounds, while critics claimed that the process was not inclusive and did not go far enough to address longstanding issues of segregation in the district, among other complaints.
The plan’s effect in its first year is difficult to evaluate using unofficial data showing kindergarten enrollment at the three schools for the 2017-2018 school year, in part because the Department of Education does not report percentages representing fewer than ten students.
The percentage of P.S. 191 students in poverty declined over the previous year, while overall enrollment increased. At P.S. 199, the kindergarten class was smaller, but the percentage of white students increased. P.S. 452 saw the percentage of white kindergartners drop from 68 percent last year to 51 percent this year.
The tables below show each school’s kindergarten enrollment demographics for the current school year in comparison with the 2016-2017 school year, the last before the rezoning took effect. Enrollment statistics for the 2017-2018 school year are unofficial.