Zoning Plan Would Add Stability to Pair of Downtown Schools, Principals Say

Wednesday, October 12, 2011 - 03:53 PM

In the West Village and Chelsea, two schools share a single zone in an unusual arrangement that lets parents choose between the two. At a meeting on Tuesday night to discuss a rezoning proposal that would give each school its own zone, the schools' principals said that while choice was great for parents and gave each school a personality, it has exacerbated the problem of overcrowding.

Kelly Shannon, the principal of P.S. 41 Greenwich Village, and Lisa Siegman, principal of P.S. 3 Charrette School, said that sharing a zone meant that they had no way of estimating how many students to expect from one year to the next. When an unexpectedly large number of families register their children the principals said they had to scramble to hire extra teachers and increase class sizes.

For this reason, Ms. Shannon said she supported the city's proposal to carve out a distinct zone for each school.

"When families know what their zoned school is right from the start and invest in it, it benefits the entire community," she said.

Though Ms. Siegman did not take a position on the rezoning proposal, she said that the current situation was difficult for her school as well. Though there are some upsides, she said: P.S. 3 offers classes that combine kindergarten students and first graders, second graders and third graders, and fourth graders and fifth graders. Parents attracted to this model can choose P.S. 3 and there's little pressure to offer a more-traditional arrangement because P.S. 41 is another nearby option.

The meeting was the third and final of the education council zoning committee, which has been explaining the rezoning proposal for District 2, a sprawling district that extends from the Upper East Side and includes much of Lower Manhattan.

Though some parents supported the city's rezoning plan at the meeting, the majority of those who attended were opposed.

Here are a few of those voices:


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