Over the last 6 months, District 15 school community members and representatives from the Department of Education (DOE) have been discussing potential rezoning and admission changes for 7 elementary schools: PS 15, PS 29, PS 32, PS 38, PS 58, PS 261 and PS 676. This conversation was prompted by a newly constructed addition to PS 32, which will open in September of 2020 with 436 seats.

The goals of this rezoning for the sub-district:

  • Address overcrowding at PS 29 and PS 58 which are both working at 125% capacity
  • Equalize building utilization across schools in the surrounding areas and fill the new school building at PS 32
  • Promote integration and address demographic disparities in schools across this area of District 15

At the latest community meeting on September 24th, the Department of Education has presented draft maps for both approaches of which none would impact students already enrolled in the schools or their younger siblings. Find the full presentation here. The colors in the maps are the existing zones, the thick black lines are the proposed new zone lines.

Approach 1: New individual geographic zones

Schools would continue to have individual geographic zones and each school would set aside around 25 – 35% of its seats for students who qualify for free lunch etc. This plan would significantly decrease the school zones of PS 58 and PS 29 and significantly increase the school zones of PS 32, PS 38 and PS 15. PS 58 and PS 29 would set aside around 30% of the seats for out-of-zone students who qualify for free lunch, are English Language Learners or live in temporary housing to achieve diversity criteria. The school zones would remain approximately the same for PS 261 and PS 676.

Approach 2: New shared zone (“unzoning”)

Current zone lines between the impacted schools would be removed and a shared zone would be created across the seven schools in the area. Schools would admit students through a choice admissions process that would include a priority for kids who qualify for free lunch and English Language Learners for 25 – 35% of available seats at each school. Students would have entitlement to a seat at one of the 7 schools but not any individual school within the zone. Transportation would be available according to the existing guidelines for busing.

As the Department of Education and the CEC have received feedback that the process is too rushed to be voted on by the CEC by November ’19 for a ’20 implementation, they have proposed two timelines to be discussed with the community:

Timeline 1: November ’19 vote for a September ’20 implementation which would help fill the new PS 32 school building as soon as possible, address overcrowding at PS 29 and PS 59 and address school segregation the fastest.

Timeline 2: Spring or Fall ’20 vote for a September ’21 implementation which could leave more time for diverse community engagement for a potential 3rd approach that has not been defined yet. If waitlists at PS 29 and PS 58 appear in the meantime, waitlisted students would be offered a seat at PS 32.

Affected families with their oldest kids entering Kindergarten in school year 20/21 or later are continuously asked to provide feedback at upcoming meetings in person or per email: