Kim Watkins, chair of the CEC3 zoning committee, speaks at a recent meeting.

The Upper West Side’s school board (known as CEC3) is set to vote on a plan to rezone the southern portion of the district in less than a month, but various factions in the community remain torn about what action to take. We’ve reported on the plan in detail here and here. This would affect PS 199, PS 191 and PS 452.

In recent days, we’ve learned of a few more developments.

There’s a zoning committee meeting Monday night at 6:30 at the Joan of Arc Complex, 154 West 93rd street.

151015 Zoning Committee Minutes – DRAFT

NEWS, SCHOOLS | 91 comments | permalink
    1. leslie says:

      Fascinating – now the 199 PTA – headed by one of the most corrupt cats in the ‘hood has determined they have been WAY TOO QUIET for too long about the overcrowding. Suddenly they are UP IN ARMS. And thankfully all the IMPORTANT CHILDREN are zoned for 199. Thankfully. Now it’s time to push the plan through.

      Where is Conspiracy Theorist when we need him/her… Another one of the dubious duo’s plan for UWS domination?

      I hope their educational dreams for their important children come true, I really do

    2. Conspiracy Theorist says:

      THE REAL PLOT is that both Joe Fiordaliso (CEC3 President and 199 parent) and Eric Shuffler (Community Board 7 Education Co-Chair, P.S 199 Executive Board, and former P.S. 199 Co-President) IS A PARTNER AT OR THE OWNER OF A FIRM LOBBYING FOR THE CHARTERS.

      You know what happens when the zone gets mixed up and everyone starts supporting both P.S. 199 and 191? We have two fantastic schools and families stop applying to Eva Moscowitz’s nearby “Success” Academy Charter.

      That would really bite for Eric Shuffler, who is being paid $120,000 dollars a year by the hedge-fund PAC “Better Education 4 Kids NJ”. How do they make education better? They fund NJ school board and mayoral elections to make sure only those in line with Chris Christie’s pro-charter agenda get elected. Not here in NYC – these lobbyists simply get appointed to the top two education policy positions in the District (Joe Fiordaliso was only elected his second term)

      So what about NYC? Eva Moscowitz – is on the board of StudentsFirst NY, which is in a partnership with “Better Education 4 Kids”.

      And Eric’s buddy Joe Fiordaliso is a partner at a firm, MBI Gluckshaw, that lobbies for the charters too (NJ Charter School Association).

      type “Fox Shuffler” or “MBI Gluckshaw” in entity name field.

      • Conspiracy Theorist says:

        For all of you who think that guy Eric Shuffler is a “stand up” guy, you should know that his lobbying firm, Fox Shuffler (recently renamed to River Crossing Strategy Group) is being investigated by the Feds in Newark.

        Yup. Turns out you are not allowed to help your client (United Airlines) do illegal sh*t – like getting out of paying tens of millions of dollars owed to the government in exchange for creating the “Chairman’s Flight” to his weekend vacation home. Taxpayers almost lost out big time on that one.

        Who would have thought it would be considered unethical to try to hush the NJ legislature from investigating the bridgegate scandal? Yeah that Jamie Fox dude is Eric Shuffler’s partner in slime.

        Check out Eric Shuffler on this document of fed-subpoenaed emails. Search on Shuffler or go to page 28 (but there are other pages too). Yeah Eric is involved too.

      • Conspiracy Theorist says:

        The sh*t is just too deep to completely repeat. Please view my past posts here.

        In case you have not been paying attention to the real thickening plot, here are the Cliff Notes:

        1) Eric Shuffler was the lobbyist for the company doing the PCB pilot testing at 199 (TRC Engineering) and one other school in each borough. Yeah you thought he was the sweet guy saving your kids from the PCBs. He earned 95k for that gig from TRC (at Fox Shuffler) and 95k a year from Honeywell (through Tipping Point Strategies). These companies raked in millions.

        2) Yeah, there was a reason Eric and Joe were telling you to take a “wait and see” approach to the DOE’s proposal to demolish 199 and 191. The dude that appointed them to the boards that allow them to “grass roots message” for their clients – had his 2013 Comptroller election funded by the broker for the ECF deal (CBRE).

        3) These guys are not independent from the DOE. The firms they represent do millions of dollars a year in contract work for the DOE (and transportation..etc.)

        END THIS MADNESS NOW! If Joe and Eric (or their recent PTA Proxies) are telling you to do something, believe something..fear something… don’t be their pawn. Run the other way.

        • Sherman says:

          If these allegations are true I find it appalling that people so heavily involved in the School Board and the PTA were not more honest and transparent about their personal vested interests and business dealings.

          Silly me, I honestly thought that these people got involved out of altruism and community service, not personal enrichment.

        • JustWondering says:

          “Conspiracy Theorist” – what I really what I want to know is who are YOU? You clearly have a personal vendetta against these guys. So what did they do to you? Prevent you from winning a contract, or perhaps expose a bit of truth about your background?

          Your repeated slander against these guys actually says more about you, and your mental stability, than it does about them. If this were a real story someone else would be saying it too.

          WSR why do you allow this defamation a place on your website??

          • anon says:

            Just Wondering, it isn’t slander if it’s true. Conspiracy Theorist is providing a lot of documentation. WestSideRag should allow him to post. This is exactly why having a forum for the public to reply to these stories is important.

          • Citizen says:

            It’s not slander or defamation if it is true. How do we verify it is the question.

          • Conspiracy Theorist says:

            Yeah accountability is a bitch. There is a reason why state governments make lobbying records, election donations, and city contracts public. Lobbyists have been engaging in illegal, unethical, and subversive activities for years – especially in Jersey.

            Defamation or slander involves making false statements about somebody. Follow the links to the New York Times, WNYC, and Bergen Record’s investigative reporting on this stuff and multiple public documents and stop being blind to this reality.

            This is not rocket science. It is all public information.

            Why is it so hard to believe that someone would be outraged for being lied to? That our kids’ education is someone else’s private profit?

            Democracy is not a spectator sport. Or maybe you prefer to watch Fox News where the real fiction is spouted.

            • anon says:

              Pretty funny that Just Wondering wants Conspiracy Theorist to identify himself while (s)he continues to post as Just Wondering.

            • Just Wondering says:

              Speaking of democracy – I don’t really understand why this conversation is relevant to the zoning debate at all. Eric doesn’t get a vote. Joe gets one out of ten CEC votes. It’s hardly significant.

              And I won’t use my real name while no-one else is Anon. Lest someone start googling and spread rumors about the time I smoked a joint in college (it’s ok though, I didn’t inhale).

            • Know who you are says:

              I think I know what is going on. Let me guess, you’re one of the parents whose kid did not get into Joe and Eric’s West End Secondary School last year.

            • dannyboy says:

              Is Joe and Eric’s West End Secondary School a new private school?

          • David Collins says:

            How does he have a personal vendetta?!?! The poster is offering up links and puts forth a reasonable account. It seems much more the case that the issue here is not this poster but the people who the poster is signaling out.

      • James says:

        Conspiracy Theorist,

        I second the recommendation that it would be more worthwhile to provide this documentation to a news organization than to troll a community blog.

        I’m not necessarily taking issue with what you’ve shared, but believe this information could be investigated through a local news agency.

        These things should be explored. I do want to point out, however, that you are providing a lot of evidence why two people on CEC3 are shady characters, by associating them with investigation of corruption and misconduct. But you don’t seem to have specific information in how their role in this rezoning is against the interests of the community, and in favor of their business interests.

        This reminds me of how Republicans tried to associate Obama with Tony Rezko or Jeremiah Wright in an attempt to undercut the public trust in him leading up to his election 2008. I totally agree that the information you’ve provided is eye-opening, but think we need to be careful to simply assume folks are guilty by association.

        • Jen says:

          Have you followed these links? How is personally being paid by the charter school loving hedge fund managers and PCB remitting companies a case of guilty by association? Do you see Shuffler’s emails in the port authority link? So because investigative reporters don’t care about our little nook of the city this has to remain hidden?

          • James says:

            What I’m not following is how this transcribes into the school zoning proposal being wrong; unless we are led to believe that we cannot trust these people because of these connections. I’m not trying to discredit the evidence provided about these individuals by Conspiracy Theorist, I was not aware of them and found them eye-opening.

        • Michael says:

          So I am following these links and I see Joe Fiordaliso’s firm’s motto is “diversity by design… successful by strategy”. Pretty ironic. All we get is continued segregation with a quick fix.

          • Uncle Matt says:

            Segregation? Poor choice of words, don’t you think? Just about every town in the country has a catchment system for elementary schools.

            • Catchment info says:

              The problem is not the catchment lines it is the 90 percent of the catchment that refuse to go to the school. There are only 25 zoned kids that go there per grade k-5. 10 of the 13 buildings are 6 stories. The other 3 are 13 stories.

    3. Anon says:

      So what happened? Did they vote on the zones?

      • Jim says:

        No voting happened yesterday. The committee basically summarized feedback as: no to the DOE’s proposal, some support for super zone, a lot of support for diversity having a role in zoning, and near unanimous support for sibling grandfathering. It seems doing nothing in the short-term while better exploring long-term solutions like pairing is getting more support. As long as they cap the 2016 K classes at 199 to 6 classes, doing nothing would be the same for 199 crowding purposes as the DOE’s rezoning proposal (which expects 6 full 199 classes next year).

        • Jim says:

          Next step is a discussion among the full CEC on Wednesday to act as a guide for the DOE’s proposal on Monday.

    4. David Collins says:

      This is simple people. You take the 10-20 blocks from 60th to 80th street around WEA, look at the demographics (population) and split the area into thirds. Going forward you either go to PS 191, 199 or 452 depending in which of those three areas you live in. Divide the areas by population, by the number of people and not by area or by race or by % of high income families or by some other absurd metric that only complicates the issue and likely adds little if any value. Divide the area by the number of people so that each school has about the same number of families eligible to attend each school. NYC is one of the most, if the not the most, diverse city in the world. Each school will get its share of Asian, Black, Hispanic, European, Indian families and each school will get some Catholics, some Jews, some Atheist…and each school will have some upper class and some middle class and some lower middle class families. And each school will have some single parent families and some gay/lesbian parents. Some will like the decision and some will hate it. That will always be the case with any solution. But this is the simplest, most logical and best solution. All else is pure drama. Of course the next thing that needs to be done is to open another school in that area because it is obvious that one is needed after 10+ years of high rises going up without a single additional school being created. So either these schools were significantly under-utilized before or they are over capacity now.

      • JR says:

        David, the problem with your plan is that it makes too much sense.

        • David Collins says:

          JR – What often happens when trying to use common sense is that none of the politicians, consultants, DOE employees who are all over this issue would be able to justify their jobs or make money, so the drama must continue – not because there will be a better solution (a solution at all) but because “complicating” the issue will only enrich their pockets and justify their involvement.

          • Kendra says:

            This is not just the DOE’s fault. We are collectively responsible for this mess – the inequities that exist between 191 and 199.

            We are responsible when it is okay to write a check to our rich PTAs but do everything we can do to reduce our taxes that go to “those people’s” school.

            …when we let our kids go to 191 for pre-k and then abandon them for the charters, privates, gifteds, or our prestigious and sheltered 199s and 87s, 9s, and 452s.

            …when we put our real estate values ahead of people who are “less entitled”.

            …when we turn a blind eye to corruption.

            …when we live in luxury housing that is tax abated for 10 or 20 years and adds nothing to the tax base to fund out schools.

            …when we hope that “those people’s” kids won’t try to play with ours.

            …when we ignore the City Council’s call for diversity in zoning (resolution 453).

            …when we believe “those people” cannot learn along side our fragile “snowflakes”.

            …when we think we should be sheltered because we are one of the 97 percenters that had the money necessary to get in the right zone.

            …when we forget the history of how these two schools used to be linked as sister schools.

            …when we believe only our children are entitled to a quality education.

            I am responsible and so are all of you. Let’s fix this for good.

            • Brandon says:

              Kendra, in theory I agree with your points. In practice, if I had a 4 or 5 year old starting K I would not send them to 191 if I could find another option. It’s not that I believe only my kids deserve quality education but I do believe that my kids deserve quality education. I won’t sacrifice that to make a point. NYC elementary school is a high stakes game by 4th grade because you need good test scores to get into one of the few decent middle schools in D3. Families simply can’t risk that their children will fall behind.

            • David Collins says:

              I am responsible for paying my taxes – which I do. The rest my friend is the responsibility of those whose salaries my taxes pay. How I am responsible for the mismanagement of these schools, the mismanagement of urban planning, the mismanagement of NYC resources is beyond me.

            • Kendra says:

              Brandon, so glad you posted.. Your attitude is a perfect example of why going big by sharing a zone is the only way. Gradually shrinking the zone overtime, and having individual families find alternatives is not working.

              Maybe we need to do the pre-k to 2 school and 3 to 5 school solution, within a super zone, that many families are now advocating.

      • anon says:

        David, how is your proposal different from the current zoning? If you simply look at proximity to schools that problem is 191 gets all the kids from Amsterdam Houses. So it won’t be the case that each school gets rich and poor, black and white. 199 and 452 will be primarily white/asian and UMC while 191 will be black/hispanic and free lunch. The rich buildings zoned for 191 send no kids there because those parents can afford private schools. The 191 cachement needs to be split up so that it’s impossible to avoid having these kids in Snowflake’s class. There aren’t so many kids at 191 that they would bring down anything if they were even split among the UMC kid classes.

        • Show me the money says:

          Agreed Anon. The only way to meaningfully change things is to get lower income families in 191 to “try” 199. UMC families will not go to 191 when they know it has less money and their PTA contributions will just be diluted down. The only way that perception will change is if the lower income families are spread out among the schools. Of course, the lower income families have to want this too, which is surprisingly unclear at this point in the process. Does anyone know whether 191 gets Title I funding? If so, that needs to be considered too as losing that funding just to add 20 UMC families as projected under the DOE’s proposal will not change anything.

        • David Collins says:

          Again, that is life. Each school is located in a different location thus there will be variances. Happens in NYC and in every city and town in the world. Actually happens less in NYC being that it is one of the most diverse cities in the world. Where does it all stop? Why not send kids who live on 80th and Central Park West to a school in Harlem where there may be fewer higher earning and white families? Why not send kids who live in Chinatown to a school on Staten Island where there are fewer Asian families? This is like a dog trying to bite its tail. You will just go around in circles all day and please no one.

          • anon says:

            I have no problem with dividing the zones simply by what school a block is closest to. Just pointing out that your comment “Each school will get its share of Asian, Black, Hispanic, European, Indian families and each school will get some Catholics, some Jews, some Atheist…and each school will have some upper class and some middle class and some lower middle class families.” isn’t true. The UC and MC families will not sent their kids to PS 191. This is the current situation. They add blocks to the cachement and those buildings send 0 kids to the school because the parents find alternatives. The result is that PS 191 never improves because they don’t have the richer more connected parents that PS 199, 452, and 87 have.

            • Show Me The Money says:

              Agreed Anon. The only way to meaningfully change things is to get lower income families in 191 to “try” 199. UMC families will not go to 191 when they know it has less money and their PTA contributions will just be diluted down. The only way that perception will change is if the lower income families are spread out among the schools. Of course, the lower income families have to want this too, which is surprisingly unclear at this point in the process. Does anyone know whether 191 gets Title I funding? If so, that needs to be considered too as losing that funding just to add 20 UMC families as projected under the DOE’s proposal will not change anything.

            • David Collins says:

              Well the only two alternatives that I know of would be for families to either get their kids into a G&T program, which means they would be one of the 1% who manage that, or that they be a part of the other 1%, the very wealthy, and afford to send their kid/s to private school. But, having lived in NYC for 30 years and being a parent, I doubt that even when you combine the two groups that the total will amount to a high percentage of the families given the difficulty of acceptance at G&T programs and the high cost of private school. They have built over a dozen new high rise apartment buildings within five blocks of PS 191, including on 60th street itself. Hard to imagine that 90% of those families either get their kids into G&T or have incomes that allow them to send their kids (all their kids) to $50,000 a year private schools. Maybe 10%, 20%, even 30% might fall into one or both of those categories, but even then PS 191 would have plenty of kids to fill their seats with the remaining 70%. The problem is the school is terrible – or at least that is the word on the street – and nobody wants to be the sacrificial lamb and take the first step to make it better. On the other hand you have PS 199, which was a great school up to 10 years ago and now is no longer as good of a school (overcrowded, under resourced, incompetent admin, unstable faculty,…).

            • Show Me The Money says:

              I expect most rezoned families will take option 3 – move to a better zone (199, 87, 9) and eat the moving costs/higher rents as better than 50k year on private school. 191 has no where to go but up on its test scores, but you don’t sacrifice your 5 year old child on that experiment when you can move and get a spot at a school that has had success, has more money, and also has “dedicated teachers, loving families, and a committed principal” (the oft-repeated sales pitch for 191). You can’t force people with resources to do something they don’t want.

            • David Collins says:

              But that is the problem! 199, 87 and 9 are all full. In the case of 199 it is extremely over-crowded and under resourced both in space, staffing and everything else (there are many reasons why the test scores as 199 have been declining markedly for years now). The issue here is that families have been doing exactly that thinking it was their God given right to send their children to one of those schools if they moved into one of those school zones and that is NOT the case. Again, the best thing to do is to split those three or four school zones as evenly as possible by the number of residents/children/families and go from there. It will take some time, but in a few years it will all even out and by then the city might actually add another school!

            • Show Me The Money says:

              People do have a God given right to try to do what is best for their children. Families have seen others jump the line by moving into new high rises (ahem, 170 Amsterdam) and will just do the same to give their children the best opportunity for success. It’s bad long-term, but most families aren’t willing to sacrifice their child on the hope things will even out in a few years. The only way to solve the problem long-term is to open up more quality seas. For 191, that requires the DOE to make a convincing case why your child is as likely to succeed there as 199/87/9. Right now, all we get is everyone is “working hard,” but that is true for the other schools that also have more money and demonstrative success at achieving much higher than average test scores.

            • kathy says:

              David, it would be hard to believe that so many people could afford private school and avoid the 191 zone. Hard to believe if it were not for the Charter School 20 something blocks away. The Success charter is full of white and asian parents from the 191 zone. The charter schools are smarter than the DOE. They succeed by giving parents choices.

            • Show Me The Money says:

              It is worth noting that roughly half of 199’s K classes are younger siblings. That means roughly half of the 65-75 families the DOE has rezoned from 199 to 191 will stay in 199 anyways under the sibling grandfathering (this is why the DOE expects 199 to be filled to capacity again next year even with a zone of 100-110 kids, which doesn’t consider new buildings so 199 may very well be over 6 classes again). This leaves about 30 zoned out families without siblings – that’s not going to create the “critical mass” for change, but a scramble for alternatives.

          • Kathy says:

            David, this is not a geography problem. 191 is an in zoned school that has almost half of it’s students coming from other zones. Yes, there are far worse schools out there.

            There are about 25 kids entering kindergarten at 191 who actually live in the zone. Not even the zoning chair Kim Watkins, who sends her kid to 191 lives in the 191 zone. The problem is the other 90 percent of the families who live in the zone that don’t want to be the first one to put their kid in the school.

            • Show Me The Money says:

              Kim has stated that her child is moving from 191 to 166 G&T. Fair enough, that’s the choice most of us would make too.

            • David Collins says:

              There is no way 90% of the families living in the 191 zone send their kids to private school or G&T. Just not possible for obvious reasons. It is about geography. It’s this sort of thinking that has gotten the situation to be the shitshow that it is today. The inability of people to accept reality and do something that will actually make a difference and have a lasting effect. You take the space these school are in and divide it as evenly as possible across the three or four schools in question. Don’t consider any other criteria other than population. That will require redefining the current school zones, so you will likely have to grandfather in the families who currently have kids in those schools, but the rest, including those families who already live in the zones but who still don’t have kids enrolled at the schools, they will get zoned based on population numbers/density. And, you stop accepting kids from outside the zone. In two or three years the schools will even out and the problem will be largely solved. Anything else is just prolonging the agony and making politicians and consultants and the DOE have a reason to continue justifying their jobs and making money.

        • David says:

          I am not sure what the PTA is crying about. There are enough seats in this section of district 3 no matter what zoning plan the CEC chooses. Even if they create a super zone next year – the DOE can decide to enter 125 kids next year into 199 or 150.

          And how does the DOE plan help if nobody actually has to go to 191 because of the persistently dangerous designation. It seems like more of the same simple zone shrinking isn’t going to help. This would be the third time the 199 zone would be made smaller and certainly not the last.

          When is it going to end? Just mix it up already and be done with this persistent segregation.

          • Show Me The Money says:

            Yeah, there seems a lot of confusion between overcrowding and zoning. Overcrowding is solved by limiting the number of students that can be admitted at 199, say 6 classes. All 3 proposals currently on the table (DOE’s proposal, superzone, do nothing) contemplate the same number of spots at 199 of 6 K classes/150 students. Zoning just determines who has a realistic chance at getting one of those spots: 1. The DOE’s plan limits availability to an increasingly more exclusive Trump/Lincoln Towers Zone; 2. Do Nothing keeps the historical access to 199; and 3. The superzone adds more diverse families a chance at 199. As long as the DOE/CEC are strong on not adding a 7th K class, all the proposals are the same from a crowding perspective.

    5. linda says:

      So Scott Stringer is “the dude who had his 2013 Comptroller election funded by the broker for the ECF deal(CBRE)”?

      If so, Scott, you broke my heart.

    6. helen says:

      Move the G&T Anderson school on 77th street to 191 and enlarge the program. I live on the same block as the Anderson school on 76th street, but if my child got into Anderson in a new location at 191, I would not hesitate to send my kid there. Geography is less important for Anderson and wouldn’t detract parents from wanting to send their kids here. G&Ts are originally placed in lower income neighborhoods anyway. This creates a LOT of room for 452 to expand and 191 gets G&T. Perfect solution??

      • Jim says:

        Certainly better than the current proposal. It won’t address the diversity differences between 199 and 191, but neither does the DOE’s proposal. At least this would seem more fair to most rezoned families.

        • Helen says:

          Agree it doesn’t solve the diversity issue. Diversity can only be addressed by providing more affordable housing within all of our communities.
          But moving Anderson to 191 solves a lot of issues including neighborhoods going into war. There’s so much noise in regards to rezoning and for MANY people, it’s because they are worried about property value. This happened downtown when they rezoned PS234 – protesters going wild when their kid was private school bound. I can’t blame them.

          • David Collins says:

            You want diversity, then move to Nebraska, South Dakota, Alabama, Maine, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming…plenty to choose from. Don’t stay in New York City – everyone is the same here.

            • kathy says:

              No we are not all the same. And clearly the homeowners with all the money would like to keep it that way.

          • anon says:

            Would there be room for Anderson in the 191 building along with the 191 kids? Anderson is k-8 with 2 classes in most grades (maybe more in 6-8). I know 191 is undersubscribed but it isn’t empty. As others mentioned this won’t “fix” 191. It will just be a case of the haves and have nots sharing a building while having separate and very unequal resources.

            • helen says:

              If they moved Anderson to 191, 452’s zoning can be broader to include the northern part of current 199 zoning. Then 199 has more room to include the northern 191 zone. 199’s student body just got more diverse this way! Again, this solutaion can accommodate so many families and make most people happy without going into neighborhood wars. Anderson folks won’t be too happy moving from 77th st to West 60s, but give me a break… if you are in Anderson, you are set for top notch education all the way to middle school. Again, if my kids got into Anderson(relocated to 191), i would NOT hesitate to send them there.

            • helen says:

              one more point to Anon: Anderson’s student body is not the typical ‘privileged’ kids. they get into the school merit based. So placing Anderson into 191 does not necessarily mean ‘haves and have nots sharing a space’ as you put it. It certainly could be that the ‘haves’ have more luxury to educate their children with more resources which may help them get into Anderson, but where do you draw the line here? People are comfortable with gradual changes and not radical ones. We live in NYC, so we are not afraid of diversity(in fact most welcome it).

            • anon says:

              Helen, I know the Anderson kids come from all over but only 10% are free lunch compared to 77% at 191 (source InsideSchools) and the Anderson PTA raised over a million dollars 5 years ago (source NY Times). Anderson is very much Haves compared to 191s Have Nots. This won’t be one diverse school, it will be one building with a clear division of schools where the predominately white and Asian Anderson kids have more than the black and Hispanic 191 kids. The optics are bad. And I’m still not sure there is room for 500+ Anderson kids to move into that existing space.

          • kathy says:

            You are missing the point here. The problem is that White and Asian parents are not sending their kids to 191. More affordable housing is not going to solve that. If you want more diversity at 191, then give the isolated kids at 191 more school choice. Give everybody more choice. Right now the only ones providing choice are the private schools and charter schools.

            What are you all afraid of? So what if 10 of the 25 zoned 191 kids per grade come to 199?

            • Momofboys says:

              I think Anon hit the nail on the head. I have two sons, the first of which will be eligible to enter K in 2017. We live in a building currently zoned for 199 but proposed to be zoned for 191 with the current plan. The stats are real. My son is sweet and sensitive. He will be ostracized to be one of the few not receiving free lunch. He will be dressed in designer clothing bc I can afford it and want to put him in those clothes and I fear at 191 he would be picked on for these choices his parents are making. He is white, speaks only English (currently) and in a world where many of those from lower incomes speak other languages as a primary (my husband was one like that so I speak from personal knowledge), my son risks being excluded and left out. My husband and I have worked out butts off to ensure better for our kids. I would rather move or take multiple jobs to protect my child against any sort of ridicule or exclusion at his young and impressionable age by sending him to private school then to set him up for problems at a school where he will stick out like a sore thumb.

      • jack says:

        Putting Anderson in the same building as 191 will not improve the test scores/PTA funding at 191. I don’t see how that would help attract families to the school. It would free up space for 452, but that’s all.

        • helen says:

          Jack, i’m focused on the best solution for all and NOT only focusing on getting 191 up to speed. That is the responsibility of the DOE and the parents in 191. But with that said, that whole area near 191 is flooded with new high rises and will eventually correct itself. Also, Success Academy is opening up in Hells Kitchen so there’s great opportunity for kids in that area to go to a better performing school.

          • brandon says:

            How will it eventually correct itself? The new high rises aren’t that new but none of those kids (or very few) attend 191. People either go private, G&T, don’t move to the area until there kids are safely in another school, or move to the suburbs. The people living in multi-million dollar apartments can find other options.

            • Helen says:

              Brandon, it will eventually correct itself like PS 87 did. PS 87 is a good school now, but it wasn’t years ago. But in this case of 191, it could happen faster with the rezoning I am proposing – enlarging 452’s zone further south(with the vacated space after Anderson’s departure). Enlarge 199’s zone further south to include part of 191. 191 will eventually have enrollment from the various high rises- even if you have money, there’s no guarantee that one will get into a private school. There’s a limited seat in private schools. It’s just not possible.
              Also, no parent will stand up for social injustice when it’s your own 5 year old’s education at stake. Forcing 199/452 parents into 191 will not work.

          • jack says:

            The situation of 191/199 has existed for at least 15 years. The problem is not going to correct itself because no one of means wants to put a 5 yo in a school that is failing. The Hell’s Kitchen Success Academy has been open for years. It doesn’t help. You can’t send a large housing project full of children to one school and expect the school to perform miracles.

      • Beth says:

        @Helen – If moving Anderson was such a brilliant idea, don’t you think the DOE would have considered it? Where there is space is PS 191. They are 200 seats under capacity.

        Regarding the “Anderson kids come from everywhere” comment, that just isn’t true. 40% of Anderson kids live in District 3 with many of these kids zoned for PS87, 452, and 199.

        Anderson parents don’t appreciate being scapegoated for the overcrowding happening in the southern part of District 3. Not to mention that the school just moved into its current building 6 years ago. How is it fair to the school to suggest that it move again, when it in fact just moved? Is the school just supposed to keep moving and moving?

        • helen says:

          You sound naive thinking the DOE would’ve thought of a brilliant idea if there was one. Why do you think people are in this situation in the first place?
          Do i think Anderson should move again? YES. Why do you think ppl who got into this great school is entitled to everything? First based on merit(deserved/entitled), then lottery(complete luck). But then you still think you should be in the middle of the best Upper West Side neighborhood? Honestly, who could be this greedy when so many schools are having all of these issues? The other G&Ts that’s comparable to Anderson is Lower Lab 96th/3rd and Nest in the Lower East Side. G&Ts were originally placed in underprivileged areas, so YES, it makes sense that Anderson would move.

    7. anon says:

      building on Helen’s idea of moving Anderson — move Anderson to 191. Get rid of 191 completely. change the zones so those kids go to 191 and a corresponding number of the 199 kids (about 35 per grade) move into the 452 zone which can now be bigger because Anderson has left the building. 199 becomes more integrated. The 191 kids are in a better school with more resources/money. The Anderson families won’t be happy about the move but they’ll get over it. Win Win Win

    8. Uws dad says:

      There is really no plan that addresses the need of white wealthy families to guarantee their child goes to a white wealthy ps199.

      There seemed to be shifting rationales amongst the angry ps199 dads at the meeting. But what it came down to is that segregation works really well for them, and any plan should include “my child” going to 199.

      The fact that a physical structure (their building) was there first, or that walking 5 blocks south is fundamentally more damaging than 4 blocks north , or I promised my child they can go to this school or just plain ridiculous.

      These 199 dads were persistently rude at the meeting. They yelled and shouted. They mocked a woman that merely mentioned we should consider serving underprivileged families.

      There is a plan being worked on for grade pairing. I am sure this will make some angry. For nearly as terrible as sending their children to a minority school would be those minorities coming to their school.

      But, this option seems to be the only plan that addresses the wait list, diversity/segregation, and the quality of 191.

      • Another parent says:

        It is the best plan all around and it is similar to how the two schools used to be paired.

        I wish these Angry White Men would just move back to the sheltered burbs where they grew up. If they cannot handle diversity then this is not the place for them.

      • Julie says:

        Agree pairing is the best all around plan, though the current 199 families will fight it as they feel entitled to keeping the school for themselves how they want it (at least until all their kids are done). I also agree that the rude behavior of a few attendees was unacceptable. I do, however, think the parents have a right to be upset — we’ve had 4 meetings now where people have consistently spoken against the DOE’s proposals and asked for additional data (i.e. assisted lunch estimates like provided in Brooklyn) and there has been absolutely no change in the plan or additional disclosure of the data. The meetings have also been hijacked as sales pitches for 191 (with a lot of “give us a shot” and little specifics on how money and test scores have improved). We get that people hope 191 will improve with new families, but stop saying our families should be the sacrificial lambs while some new resident in Trump Plaza further from 199 than us has won the DOE lottery to stay in 199 with equally hard-working staff, more money, and better test scores.

    9. lisa says:

      See article on issue in NY Times

      • dannyboy says:

        The money quote: “But at the same time we want the best for our children. We want the best for our property value.”

        • PS 199 PTA are disgusting says:

          See NY Times article. PS 199 has a personal chef, PS 191 doesn’t even have an art room or a library? How much of the $800,000 from PTA goes to Joe Fiordaliso and Helen Rosenthal?

          • Uncle Matt says:

            None of it goes to those two and you know it. You just seem bitter and jealous. A shame you can’t direct that energy into your own PTA or something otherwise more productive than slinging mud and two people who have done a lot for the quality of district 3 schools. Shame shame.

      • OhPlease! says:

        Note that the article mentions the resident chef at PS199, funded in part by the $800,000 donated by the PTA. Is the PTA there willing to have their kids eat frozen pizza instead of sushi for lunch so other kids in the community can attend a decent school too??? Some people are very selfish.

    10. Anon says:

      Projects are at the root of the problem. Why would I want my child going to a school with a bunch of kids many of which are likely aggressive and dangerous? Can we all just stop the political correctness here? This is not about color, its about behavior. Isnt 191 listed as a dangerous school by yhe state? These are real issues! How would you like to go to school there? These are real kids, our kids, they are not game pieces.

      • Julie says:

        I was surprised to hear the community superintendent say in the last zoning committee meeting that the persistently dangerous tag primarily related to the conduct of elementary school kids, not middle school. It is really hard to feel confident that this is an environment I want my five year old entering. If the persistently dangerous tag was a mistake, then it just reflects poorly on the DOE and 191 school officials for failing to proactively resolve the issue before it was too late. We will not even know until August 2016 (at the earliest) if the tag will be lifted — that is, one month before the school year begins. The community superintendent correctly acknowledged that her prior statement that you do not have a right to transfer out of a persistently dangerous school was incorrect, though she said the transfer process can only start after the school year begins! This issue NEEDS to be resolved before any plan to shift students to 191 is adopted.

    11. Eric says:

      I am not sure why MomofBoys’ comment ( has no reply button on it but it certainly deserves one.

      Dear Momof2boys,
      I had to read your post three times trying to decide if it was a serious comment or a cunning parody.
      Assuming it is the former, my reply is this …

      Wow … wow.

      I think you and your husband need to sit down together and make a plan because you have barely 2 years to get your home schooling act together. I say this because home schooling this child is the only way to prevent your “sweet and sensitive” son in his “designer clothing bc I can afford it and want to put him in those” outfit will not be “picked on”, “excluded”, and “left out” when he goes to school. But it won’t be because of “these choices his parents are making” … it will be because he will be in a world with other people.

      Manhattan is an island but living on it does not make you one. It passes understanding how you chose to raise your kids in New York if you have real concerns that your child is too sensitive to withstand being “ostracized to be one of the few not receiving free lunch”.

      I take no joy in informing you that there is absolutely no way in this wide world that you can “protect my child against any sort of ridicule or exclusion at his young and impressionable age by sending him to private school” or any other kind of school whose classes are held outside of your living room. If you doubt this then go right ahead and send the boy to any of New York’s fine private schools where you will get a fine lesson in how, where kids relating to kids is concerned, class or wealth or privilege affords no protection against the way children interact with other children.

      Being a kid is often no fun at all (and that is just fine) but being with people who are different than you is the only way of learning how to be okay with who you are. That is also a part of what going to school is for, and to live in New York City is to be automatically enrolled in the master class in it. Your son may indeed “stick out like a sore thumb” … that’s okay … teach him to deal with it.

      The future need not be dire for a child who “is white, speaks only English (currently) … in a world where many of those from lower incomes speak other languages as a primary.” It is not a foregone conclusion that “he will be ostracized.” Even though your “husband was one like that” your son is not pre-destined to “being excluded and left out.” Teach him how to get along with others, and let him know that there will be bumps and bruises and rejection and acceptance along life’s way.

      For goodness’ sake, take a deep breath and count your blessings.

      • Anon says:

        I think diversity is very overrated. I actually can’t stand the idea of diversity for diversity sake. We want skin color to be irrelevant in our society, then we go about making sure classrooms have people of all colors. Your reply to momof2 repeatedly fails to understand her as well as the countless like her: for us it is not about diversity or color, it is about behavior. Only a racist doesn’t want to be around blacks or other minorities simply because of their color. ITS ABOUT BEHAVIOR AND SHARED UNDERSTANDINGS. We want our kids NOT TO BE WITH OTHER KIDS OF THE SAME COLOR BUT OF THE SAME CIVILITY!! This is the point you do not understand. I personally would rather my child be in a school that is 90% black nice and on the right track children than be at a 90% white school where 20% of the whites are on the wrong track. It is NOT ABOUT COLOR! And if you don’t know what on the right track means, then you have your answer right there.

        • Eric says:

          I guess it’s all about what you bring to the discussion. Not once in my comment is there a mention … overt, thinly veiled, or between-the-lines … of race or diversity or color. My comment speaks to her fears that her son will be “ostracized” or “picked-on” for being different, and my point is that this type of behavior occurs anywhere you put kids together … public school, private school, or playground. As any parent of a child in private school can attest, even the children of the wealthy can prey cruelly on one another. To think that her child can be insulated from this is not realistic and perhaps not even desirable.

      • Don't pick on the wealthy says:

        May I add to your critique, the same rationale of why my wealthy sweet child shouldn’t be exposed to people who are different could also be used to why we shouldn’t let any poor minorities into ps 199. Keep all poor kids out. Keep all minorities out. They can’t afford designer clothes. They might not be proficient in English. Surely they will pick on at ps 199.

        Ah, but ps 191 is filled with savage children… and here is where the prejudice appears.