The CEC 15 and Department of Education held another public meeting on 11/17 to update the community on the potential rezoning of 7 public elementary schools. The PAR team presented their findings of the participatory action research (PAR) in affected neighborhoods underrepresented in the education decision making process and made recommendations which will be worked into a rezoning map by the Department of Education. A new rezoning proposal with map will most likely be presented at the next CEC meeting on December 15th.

The main recommendations by the PAR team at the 11/17 meeting:

  • PS 676 in Red Hook which was not originally included in this rezoning plan should be centered in any rezoning
  • Support PS 676 and the Red Hook community to consider and explore transforming PS 676 into a middle school
  • If PS 676 becomes a middle school, families in the previous PS 676 zone should have priority for PS 15 in Red Hook
  • Repair and renovate the Footbridge, the Hamilton Ave 9th Street crossing and create a Red Hook Park at the base of the footbridge on the Red Hook side. Transportation in and out of Red Hook must improve and various city agencies need to get involved

  • Establish an equity council to critically consider fiscal equity, invite the Brooklyn New School into the work, develop a plan-of-action for school based racial justice and equity work, support all schools in outreach efforts, critically consider issues of inequity in relation to G&T and Dual Language programs, school discipline practices, curriculum, staffing, special ed policies and more
  • Increase educational access across the subzone meaning support enrollment at under-enrolled schools and increase diversity at crowded schools

-> “We recommend that the DOE prioritizes seats at each school for students who qualify for free and reduced lunch, multi-language learners, students in temporary housing, NYCHA residents and students with disabilities and that these seats are given priority in the admissions process, followed by a defined geographic priority. These priority seats (a percentage of seats at each school) could also go to students who do not live in Subdistrict 3. Our findings do not call for an unzoned subdistrict as access to a thriving school close to home is a key desire in all affected communities.”

To implement the new zones for next school year, a vote would have to happen before the Kindergarten application deadline which is end of January in a typical school year. No details on the timeline were shared in the meeting.

Background

The Department of Education has been partnering with CEC 15 and school communities since spring 2019 to develop a collaborative rezoning and admissions plan that aims to increase diversity and integration, reduce overcrowding, and advance equity in District 15. The process was initiated by the opening of the annex at PS 32 in Carroll Gardens that brought over 430 new seats to the Subdistrict and needs to be filled.

This planning has involved seven zoned schools: P.S. 38, P.S. 261, P.S. 32, P.S. 15, P.S. 29, P.S. 58 and P.S. 676 Red Hook Neighborhood School. In response to feedback from community discussions, the DOE committed to further empowering historically underserved communities in this area through a Participatory Action Research (PAR) process.

The PAR Team consists of 12 community members who are connected to the 7 affected schools and meets weekly to develop a vision for the rezoning in the area. Here are the two rezoning scenarios that have been presented before but a new map will be presented in December taking into account the recommendations from 11/17.