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P.S. 321 Proposed Zoning Changes to be Announced at Public Meeting Tonight

Parents will have the chance to speak, and the exact boundary changes will be revealed at the Oct. 17 District 15 Community Education Council meeting.

Update Oct. 17 4:53 p.m.: The Department of Education has confirmed that the exact borders of the new proposed zones will be presented at tonight's meeting. 


The zoning changes proposed for P.S. 321 and 107 that have shaken homeowners across Park Slope and Gowanus will be discussed at a public meeting Wednesday night.

Jim Devor, president District 15’s Community Education Council, said he expects the Department of Education to reveal more details about the proposed changes at the meeting and parents will have an opportunity to speak, according to DNAinfo, which first reported the proposed changes on Monday.

The city’s Education Department has not revealed which blocks it proposes to rezone, but a brand new school at Eighth Street and Fourth Avenue will take children from the western end of P.S. 321's zone, where Park Slope turns into Gowanus. Some of P.S. 107's southernmost blocks would be moved to P.S. 10, as well. The siblings of students already at the schools in question would most likely be allowed to register at the same schools, according to The New York Times.

Real estate in the P.S. 321 and, to a lesser degree, P.S. 107, zones is sold at a premium to parents who might otherwise send their children to private school or move to the suburbs.

The announcement that the lines might be changed has come as a blow to anyone who might be on the wrong side of the new lines.

Kiersten Feil, a Fourth Avenue condo owner who moved to the neighborhood last year, said that being within the P.S. 321 zone was a major factor in their decision making process.

"We were looking for 321—and it's priced into the real estate around here," she told The Times. She said her first reaction was concern "for my property value and for where my daughter will go to school. But property value is the biggest risk."

But school officials say overcrowding makes the zoning change essential. P.S. 321's enrollment has increased to an all-time high of 1,450 students this year, and according to a letter that principal Liz Phillips sent to parents, kindergarten admission rates have continued at a steady pace, according to The Times.

District 15’s Community Education Council plans to approve the rezoning proposal if the city’s Education Department agrees to give students who are either learning English or qualify for free and reduced lunches, preference at nearby P.S. 133. These children mainly come from the district's Hispanic, black and Asian populations, and Devor said he believes this would relieve overcrowding at Sunset Park schools.

“Real estate brokers are going to go ballistic, but the alternatives we’re considering placing these children in are not exactly chopped liver,” Devor told The Times.

The District 15 Community Education Council meeting will be held  Wednesday Oct. 17 at 7 p.m. at P.S. 38, 450 Pacific St. at Third Avenue.

Did you move to the area for these schools and now may find your child rezoned out of it? Let us know what you think in the comments section below. 

Robert Underwood October 17, 2012 at 11:49 PM
If they are looking at zones, they need to look at the Slope's district line too. All of Park Slope should be in a single school district (15). If the lines are going to be redrawn for PS321 & PS107, which impacts schools like PS39, PS10, etc., then a holistic approach to the entire neighborhood should be developed. That means looking at why PS321 is over-utilized, while PS282 (where my children go), just blocks away stays under-utilized. Any solution that does not consider these 2 other neighborhood schools (282 & 133), even though they are in D13, would be incomplete. Also - does it not seem odd that the solution to overcrowded D15 schools is to send "students who are either learning English or qualify for free and reduced lunches, preference at nearby P.S. 133" -- a D13 school? Doesn't this further aggravate the perception (and reality?) of a set of Park Slope "have" schools in D15 (321, 107, etc.) and Park Slope "have not" schools in D13 (133, 282)? Local favorite author of the 1%, Amy Sohn, certainly took a hard swipe at PS282 in "Motherland." There is already a big difference between the Slope D13 and D15 schools in reduced/free lunch qualification that would imply an income disparity between North Slope and Center Slope that doesn't exist. For many complex reasons the Slope has ended up with schools that are dis-proportionally well off or dis-proportionally low income compared to their actual zoned blocks. This plan would only make this situation worse, wouldn't it?


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