With two more days to go, the rezoning question is still hotly contested. The latest meeting, which took place last night at PS 10, was contentious, though fewer people attended.
The organized Coalition of Residents for Fair Rezoning had a strong presence. Many who spoke echoed the points made on the coalition’s website, arguing that the current rezoning proposal should be scrapped and the Department of Education go back to the drawing board. Some felt the previous plan that cut up PS 39 was more fair, leaving the northwestern section of PS 321 intact. Why privilege PS 39 families over North Slopers who would be zoned out of 321?
Also voicing concerns for the first time were PS 10 parents. The school is due to receive an influx of students currently zoned for 107. But PS 10 advocates claimed the DOE’s stats were outdated, that the school is more overcrowded than the rezoning plan indicates. DOE representative Carrie Marlin promised to look into the claims. In the past, the DOE has stated that the increase from 107 would be offset by a decrease in out-of-zone children.
The PS 10 concerns have been welcomed on the Coalition’s Facebook page, but it is unclear whether the 107/10 rezoning conflict affects the PS 321 portion of the proposal. It is possible the CEC and the DOE could shelve rezoning in the South Slope and still go forward with PS 321 rezoning. It would be foolish to let the new elementary school, to be housed in the St. Thomas Aquinas building on 8th Street and 4th Avenue, go unoccupied for a year just to soothe ruffled feathers.
In all the meetings, the point that change is needed for 321 and 107 has been largely uncontested. Should rezoning be punted for another year, the problem will grow more acute. Largely missing from these public forums are parents supporting rezoning, those concerned with school overcrowding. The Coalition of Residents for Fair Rezoning has gathered 900 signatures to block the rezoning proposal. An email campaign targeted at the CEC and DOE could derail rezoning, especially if those who favor the plan are silent.
There are only two days left for those emails (addressed to: [email protected], [email protected], or [email protected]), as the CEC makes its final decision at its Wednesday, November 28 meeting. This meeting, too, is open to the public. It will take place at MS 443 New Voices – 330 18th Street (between 6th and 7th Avenues).