A punt on school zoning 2015/2016

| 29 Dec 2015 | 11:38

The Dept. of Education decided to defer to next year a decision on what to do about overcrowding and other issues in District 3 on the Upper West Side, after too many choices and not enough time for research prevented Community Education Council 3 from implementing reforms for the start of the 2016-17 school year.

The district is plagued by overcrowding at the highly sought after - and mostly affluent and white - P.S. 199 on West 70th Street. Meanwhile, the mostly black, Latino and poor P.S. 191 on West 61st Street has struggled with a high rate of violent incidents and lack of resources, which has hampered efforts to improve the school (though supporters there say the school is not violent and great strides have been made recently in quality of education there).

But help should soon be on the way in the form of new school construction at P.S. 342, a school currently under construction on West 61st Street and slated to open in 2018.

But there’s still a question of what to do about the district’s issues, with parents, local education leaders and the DOE all producing no shortage of ideas. Those solutions range from shrinking the amount of students eligible to attend P.S. 199, creating shared zones between two or even all three of the schools, or changing the grade levels served by each school and linking two or more of them together.

In 2016 look for those options to be narrowed down as soon as possible so that proposals can be reviewed by parents and the public - who can submit their feedback and thoughts - and voted upon by CEC3 in time for implementation at the start of the 2017-18 school year.

-- Daniel Fitzsimmons