CITY REVEALS ‘OPTION C’ FOR SCHOOL REZONING; LINCOLN TOWERS REMAINS SPLIT

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The crowd at Thursday’s rezoning meeting. Photo by Anthony Ferrara.

A new third option for rezoning Upper West Side elementary schools was revealed on Wednesday and it will undoubtedly leave some Upper West Side parents unhappy.

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Option C. Click to enlarge.

The city did not accede to a group of politicians and parents who had called for the zoning lines to be moved so that all buildings in Lincoln Towers would remain at sought-after PS 199, instead of some being shifted to PS 191. The Option C zoning lines will split Lincoln Towers along West End Avenue (165 and 185 are on the West Side side of the block and would go to 191 while most of the rest of the complex is on the East side and would stay at 199. As a commenter noted, 205 West End Avenue, also on the West Side of the block, would stay at 199.).

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A closer look at the most-contested areas.

Option C will appease parents at PS 452, who had asked that their school remain in the same place rather than move to 61st Street. The principal and some parents have said they support a move to 61st, but other parents have fought the move.

We have posted the first two options here.

The borders could still be changed as the school board (CEC3) debates the zone lines. The board is expected to make a decision by early November, and will hold more hearings before then.

Update: Here’s our full story.

NEWS, SCHOOLS | 50 comments | permalink
    1. UWS Mom says:

      Upper and middle class families are not going to send their kindergarteners to PS 191 when grades 1-8 consist of the same students that gave it its persistently dangerous label, even if it moves to shiny new facilities. They will do the same thing as the many upper and middle class families who are currently zoned for the school – private, parochial, g&t, move or somehow register with another address to get into another zone.

      If the DOE really wants to diversify those southern district schools, they need to go beyond just sending 1/3 of Amsterdam Houses to 199. They need to also provide a reason for upper middle class families to choose 191 instead of going elsewhere, maybe by offering G&T or dual language programs. Or just get rid of 191 and start 2 new elementary schools instead, since it will be nearly impossible for 191 to shed its persistently dangerous reputation.

      • dannyboy says:

        “Upper and middle class families are not going to send their kindergarteners to PS 191 when grades 1-8 consist of the same students that gave it its persistently dangerous label, even if it moves to shiny new facilities. They will do the same thing as the many upper and middle class families who are currently zoned for the school – private, parochial, g&t, move or somehow register with another address to get into another zone.
        …since it will be nearly impossible for 191 to shed its persistently dangerous reputation.”

        This alone will help reduce the overcrowding and life will go on.

        • UWS Mom says:

          191 is not overcrowded, it is already underenrolled.

          • dannyboy says:

            Try thinking about school as a community of schools. If parents opt-out that frees up space in the district schools;solving the overcrowding problem.

            • UWS Mom says:

              The DOE has been shrinking the 199 zone for many years now. There are dozens of luxury buildings that 5 years ago were zoned for 199 and are now zoned for 191. But despite all that zone shrinking, 199 is more overcrowded than ever and 191 is still under-enrolled. Upper and middle class families have the resources to find the best school options for their kids – even just MOVE into the zone.

            • dannyboy says:

              So let’s have the Rezoning proceed since “Upper and middle class families have the resources to find the best school options for their kids – even just MOVE into the zone.”

              no problemo

      • Carlos says:

        Unless I am reading the map incorrectly, the existing population of 191 is being split across three schools. So I don’t think it will be as much of a problem as you think.

        • UWS Mom says:

          Theoretically, yes, it looks like they are split 3 ways. BUT the current students at 191 remain there (grades 1-8). Plus all their siblings are grandfathered in. Upper and middles class families aren’t going to send their kindergarteners to become an experiment in a perceived warzone when they can find other tried and true options. Maybe in 10 years things will be different, but I’m sure the DOE will be redrawing the lines long before then again.

          • dannyboy says:

            Ever been in a warzone to make an accurate assessment?

            This is a very demeaning characterization.

            • UWS Mom says:

              Am I claiming to make an accurate assessment??? I said “perceived warzone”. It was designated “persistently dangerous” only last year.

            • dannyboy says:

              UWS Mom,

              To bring you up-to-date: “At P.S. 191 in Manhattan, the administration implemented a school-wide incentive system that offers students positive reinforcement and motivation, while allowing teachers and support staff to track and communicate about students’ academic and social-emotional progress. P.S. 191 also created three student support teams for specific age groups who worked with teachers, parents, and students, and helped guide the implementation of a social-emotional curriculum in grades K-8.”

              not a warzone
              sorry to disappoint

            • Uws says:

              Dboy- You have no room to criticize others for using over-heated rhetoric.

            • dannyboy says:

              Uws,

              I speak my mind and directly.

              You, on the other hand prefer to shut down the discussion.

              I prefer my approach WAY over yours.

          • anon says:

            “maybe in 10 years things will be different”. Great. Everyone complains about how the DOE has done nothing to improve PS 191. Now they’re doing something. If it takes 10 years for the UMC white families to send kids to 191 so be it. In the mean time that’s 10 years where 1/3 of the Amsterdam Houses kids have gone to 199 and 1/3 to the mew elementary school. The DOE and the taxpayers who fund the schools should be happy about that. Without spending an extra dime they will be improving the education of those kids.

          • Jo says:

            “a perceived warzone”? Aleppo is a warzone, not the UWS. Nor PS 191. This whole debate continues to show how divisive the “community” at Lincoln Towers really is. I think some diversity may be well overdue.

            • UWS Mom says:

              I didn’t mentioned anything about Lincoln Towers (although kudos to them for wanting to stay united as a community – what’s wrong with that?). I was just referring to the negative perception resulting from 191’s persistently dangerous designation, which seems to have been taken by some here very literally.

      • Anon says:

        UWS Mom,
        PS 191 had a G&T program years ago but it was discontinued because they couldn’t fill it. I think they needed 10 kids to sign up. This was using the same like of kids scoring over 90 that are eligible for G&T programs in all D3 schools.
        Since the 2017 incoming K class that would have gone to 191 will be split into 3 schools and 191 will have a new building, I think you are overestimating the number of UMC parents who won’t give it a chance. There simply won’t be that many Amsterdam Houses kids in any class. If the UMC families stay away the classes will have really low student to teacher ratios. That alone will attract more families the next year.

    2. Anon says:

      Why is the DOE so intent on breaking up Lincoln Towers?

      All the DOE needs to do is draw a rectangle around PS 199 and add kids from Amsterdam Houses to meet diversity targets.

      C’mon DOE how difficult is it to do that? This is what you are doing with PS 452. Then and only then would you meet your goals of reducing overcrowding, increasing diversity, and minimizing travel distance.

      • anon says:

        Why should the DOE care about Lincoln Towers? They are supposed to educate NYC children. Your feeling of community should not enter into that decision at all. PS 199 has been overcrowded since before the kids who this zoning will impact were conceived. Everyone in Lincoln Towers knew there was the possibility of their kids getting shut out.

        • UWS parent says:

          Agree! Why does the DOE now also have to consider keeping Lincoln Towers together when there are already so many issues trying to appease all the parents. Everyone will have to make sacrifices, that includes LT residents too. Another option would be to keep all the LT residents together and have them zoned to 191, since clearly your priority is having the residents together. Would you care if your child went to 191 but your neighbor’s child went to 199? If so, then get in line with all the other Lincoln Square parents who are facing this same issue.

    3. Anon says:

      West Side Rag

      Please correct your mistake in the above article.

      You state, “165 and 185 are on the West Side side of the block and would go to 191 while the rest of the complex is on the East side and would stay at 199.”

      However, 205 WEA is also on the west side of the block but stays at 199 in the proposals.

      Furthermore, 140/142 WEA is on 66th street far further than 185 and 165, but stay at 199 in the proposals.

      It seems the DOE is just intent on breaking up Lincoln Towers and not on a fair and reasonably plan

    4. Carlos says:

      It appears to me that the buildings assigned to 199 are the same in all three proposals? And Amsterdam Houses are split between three different schools? I’m not totally clear on why they changed things so much further north in the district but this seems OK to me – with a few minor exceptions, it keeps kids going to schools close to where they live – I’m glad they tossed the idea to move 452 (I do not live in the 452 zone – I think everyone on this board should disclose their personal biases when commenting on these plans).

    5. billie goldin says:

      this community, lincoln towers, should not be divided. there is no sane reason for the change. this is a community of shared expenses. we pay for our common areas. this change will cause fiscal problems, as well as disturbing the playground friendships. we can see the school from our window. the other school is a 25 minute walk away. please do not take 165-185 out of the zone for ps 199.

      • Carlos says:

        PS 191 is 7-8 blocks straight down West End from the rezoned Lincoln Towers buildings. I have young children so I know they don’t walk at the pace of Usain Bolt, but if it takes you 25 minutes to walk 7-8 short blocks, I feel very sorry for you. I am all for keeping zones compact and contiguous, but this is not a major breach of that – the families who live in the NE part of the zone for the new school who were shifted out of 199 have a much more legitimate gripe.

      • Sargej says:

        Please explain how this plan will cause financial problems and disrupt playground friendships.

        Does the school your child attends impact the common charges you pay? Does the money go directly to 199? Do families of children who attend private or parochial schools pay less? City kids are used to making friends at the playground and in their buildings–do you actually think they won’t get along because they attend different schools? I don’t think any of this is true.

        My building was outzoned from 199 a few years back. My son was able to complete his elementary years at 199, just like the 165/185 current attendees will do. I understand why people are upset, but the school is over capacity. With a new school opening, zones need to change. I don’t understand why LT residents think they are entitled to attend a particular school.

    6. Sherman says:

      There’s is a tremendous amount of anxiety and noise about these rezoning plans from 199 parents (of which I’m one).

      However, I don’t hear much from 191 parents.

      Do these parents even want 199 kids attending 191?

      Do they want their kids attending 199?

      Maybe 191 parents also don’t want a bunch of bureaucrats performing social engineering on their kids.

      Im curious about their perspective.

      • anon says:

        Sherman, where and when are you speaking to 191 parents? I assume you see 199 parents at pick-up,drop off, soccer games and birthday parties so of course you’d hear from them more. Are you suggesting that PS 191 with it’s failing test scores and persistently dangerous label is exactly what parents of 5 year olds who live in the Amsterdam Houses are looking for?

      • Leon says:

        The reason you are not hearing anything from the 191 parents is the same reason why their school underperforms and was designated as dangerous. Lack of engagement in the educational process. Parental engagement will always be more important and have more impact on education than money or new schools.

        • dannyboy says:

          “The reason you are not hearing anything from the 191 parents is” BECAUSE YOU TUNE THEM OUT. Here is one comment, more are available:

          Anne says:
          September 24, 2016 at 6:48 pm
          Why doesnt LT go to PS191- Oh yeah I know- Because how can their kids be next to color kids, who are poor and their parents can’t offer them much.
          The Upper West Side parents always showing how racist they truly are!
          And yes, I am a mom who has kids in PS199 and one of the few mom of color.

          • juan says:

            How is that the voice of a PS 191 family if she says her kids go to PS 199?

            I agree with the above comment and have stated before that it would be very helpful to hear what 191 parents want. I believe one of the recent meetings was held at PS 191 on a weekend. Did any 191 families show up?

            You get out of an education (particularly a public school education) what you put into it. A large reason for the success of other schools (such as PS 199) is parent involvement. Not just monetary involvement, but time, both at the school, and at home with their kids from the day they were born. PS 191 can’t just let all of the activist UWS do-gooders fight for them – they have to show a willingness to fight for themselves. This process has not demonstrated that.

            • dannyboy says:

              “PS 191 can’t just let all of the activist UWS do-gooders fight for them – they have to show a willingness to fight for themselves.”

              WONDER WHY?
              “Ella S says:
              September 24, 2016 at 8:05 pm
              I am a mom of two little mixed girls who are zone to Ps199. As a parent of color I am disgusted by the comments these parents toward other children. Calling them “project kids” is degrading and hateful. I been living in the Upper West Side for 6 years, I seen/heard the racism from parents. I seen the way I get treated as less. Reading all these comments from “caring” parents is disturbing . No wondered why racism, sexism. xenophobia will never end. Calling children “project kids” “Color kids” “poor kids” is unacceptable. No wondered kids grow up to feel entitled.”

            • Brandon says:

              juan,
              you say you get out of an education what you put into it. we are talking about 5 year olds. 5-12 through the elementary school years. are you actually blaming them for their lot in life? I think you intend to blame the parents and while that might be true society should help those kids with parents who can’t or won’t. I’m not naive enough to think that we, the UWS liberal parents with enough money to get the best for their own kids, can solve all the problems of the kids who live in Amsterdam Houses. I do think that we need to try.

            • juan says:

              Brandon – I am all for working hard to help the students of Amsterdam Houses succeed. And I think, despite what is said here, a lot of resources have already been put towards PS 191. I am not saying to cut off the resources just because the parents aren’t involved. But I would feel better about the situation if the parents were making an effort. Perhaps they are and I’m just missing it (dannyboy repeatedly quoting ps 199 parents isn’t proving much).

              But I have always thought that one of the most important ways to help a child succeed in school and make them be committed to education is to see their parents be committed to education. I recall accompanying my parents to school board meetings as a child and them constantly asking me about what I learned, and that made it very clear to me that education was important.

          • Sherman says:

            @dannyboy

            This past Sunday I ran a 10 mile race through The Bronx. It was a beautiful run along the Grand Concourse. There are plenty of apartments available there and I bet you can find one there with an even cheaper rent than you’re currently paying rent controlled apartment on the UWS.

            But, of course, you won’t move there because like all good white liberals you prefer not to be with all the people of color who live there.

            So please, stop attacking everyone else as being racist and greedy while you pay a below market rent in a predominantly white bubble.

            • dannyboy says:

              Sherman, as I mentioned here repeatedly, I spent a third of my life in the South Bronx, so stop threatening me with The Bronx.

              Also, I do not live in a rent controlled apartment, another lie that gets repeated here on a regular basis, that you just love to drag out.

              But Sherman, trying to silence me with these falsehoods just won’t work.

              Nor will you pressure someone to leave the neighborhood because they don’t support Segregation.

              I am more a part of this neighborhood than you will ever be…

              …because of your values.

      • andrew c. says:

        As with any community, the viewpoints are not nearly homogenous. That said, the PS191 leadership has long supported realistic efforts to integrate the community. They understand that when all is said and done that is the most surefire way to improve the education of Amsterdam houses. That said, from what I have observed, some in the Amsterdam houses view 191 as as much of a neighborhood school as most 199 families view PS199. They defend it staunchly. But I don’t think this is a universal view. I also think some of this is driven by confusion around the proposal which some have misconstrued as “closing” 191 whereas it is actually just a physical relocation.

        • Sherman says:

          How do you know this? Are you a 191 parent?

          How do you know 191 “leadership wants to integrate the community”?

          Maybe 191 parents are concerned their kids might be marginalized by an influx of kids from, let’s face it, a very different socioeconomic background from their kids.

          Maybe 191 parents are concerned they could be gentrified out of their homes if the demographics of 191 change.

          I personally don’t know what these parents are thinking. My point is I don’t see 191 parents protesting in favor of these proposed changes.

          It’s presumptuous and condescending to only address the concerns of 199 parents.

    7. HOLD THE DOE ACCOUNTABLE says:

      If the DOE took responsibility and did their job to provide the children at PS 191 of a quality education, then parents would send their children to the school and there wouldn’t be so much opposition to rezoning. However, the DOE and specifically the district 3 superintendent takes no responsibility for helping the children at 191. They should have flooded 191 with resources and come up with smart, creative ideas to provide the children with the same education that 199 provides their children. Let’s stop blaming each other and hold the DOE accountable.

      • anon says:

        The DOE is trying to improve things for those children with this proposal. Flooding them with resources isn’t really an option. Schools are funded based on the number of children enrolled with a dollar amount per each head. Title 1 schools then get more. The DOE can’t give PS 191 an extra million dollars a year just because PS 199’s PTA raises that amount. You are free to contact the PS 191 PTA and donate.

        • HOLD THE DOE ACCOUNTABLE says:

          Should the difference between a high performing school and a school with horrible test scores be due to parents raising money. This is public education, the gov’t has a responsibility to all children.

          there are low cost or even free ways to improve a school, unpaid college or grad student interns, etc. The DOE and superintendent do not have the ability, skill set, and creativity to improve the school. Superintendent should step aside and let someone more qualified help the children of 191 and all of the other failing schools the DOE ignores.

          It’s unfair to tell the children at 191 that their school will improve only if families from neighboring catchments come. Have you ever heard over the past two years the DOE or superintendent ever say anything that would lead you believe they are trying to help the school? I haven’t. Their only idea is to have other people do it for them. Stop letting the DOE of the hook.

      • Lisa says:

        I agree! I am a Ps 191 parent who is zoned for Ps 199. My daughter attended pre-k at Ps 191, when I told her she would be leaving the school to join her brother at 199 she cried and said she wanted to stay at ps 191. I let her stay, she is having a great year! The teachers at 191 are amazing , my daughter comes home every day telling me what a great day she has had! I have joined the PTA and am hoping that the support that was given to the school from our community for the library continues. The DOE gives these amazing teachers 144 dollars a year to fund their classrooms and they go to Donorschoose to get the additional funding to teach too their best and hope for a miracle to be funded. My son’s ‘teachers at PS 199 do not have to beg for funds to teach like the want to. I have met some of the parents at 191 and they have to work 15 hours a day to pay their rent at the Amsterdam houses each month, most hold jobs that require them to work 13 hours a day just to pay the rent on their Amsterdam housing. Let us take the light we started with the library and keep it growing for all of the children in our community, let us be a torch for what is right and not a reflection of the communities across this country. The DOE is doing nothing to fund this school, we are funding the other schools in our district. Let’s get together and make this school great for our children and children less fortunate. My daughter told me today how many veterbrate she had in her spine, I did not know that, pretty good for a student in kindergarten! Let’s stag item our spine and grow all the children in our community!

    8. Calling BS says:

      Proof that PS 199 families MIGHT give ps 191 a chance (even though THOSE kids will still be there): Take a look at the pre-k classes! They are filled with kids zoned for 199, who have siblings in 199, and will ultimately go to 199. Those parents are often quite happy with 191 for pre-k, have no problem sending their kids to school in that same building as grades 1-8 students, and are usually very active in the school community.

      • UWS Mom says:

        It boils down to options. And this relates to my point about how the DOE needs to provide a reason for families to choose 191 over other available options. PS 191 offers a pre-K program, the other schools in the area don’t. They’ve created an incentive for families to attend because there are limited pre-K options elsewhere. But for grades K-8, 191 has failing test scores while other schools just blocks away have some of the best test scores in the city. So those pre-K families have left the school – there are better options nearby.

        The DOE should look for ways to motivate families to actually WANT to attend 191, rather than just shrinking the zones of good schools and assigning the overflow to 191 with nothing else to offer beyond a shiny new building. Families will just figure out a way to get back into the other zones and we are back again at square one with overcrowding. If 191 created a dual language program or a G&T program, I bet families would consider trying it out – it offers a unique education that they wouldn’t get elsewhere nearby. Many families enroll in 84, 75, 166, 163, 165 over other solid schools for those programs. Someone mentioned that years ago 191 used to have a G&T, but couldn’t fill it back then – the landscape is different now so it may be worth trying again.

        • Beth says:

          This came up already during one of the numerous zoning meetings held over the past year. The DOE said they did not want to put a G&T into 191, because it would draw students from all over District 3, which they thought might add to the overcrowding problem in the southern part of the district. The point of the rezoning is to alleviate overcrowding, not to create more.

    9. ERic says:

      Move to the suburbs.

      Poor Upper West Side liberals having to send their kids to schools with lots of minorities.

    10. I am opposed to Lincoln Towers being rezoned and gerrymandered out of PS i99, The residents of LTC are not wealthy people. They are working class people who are struggling to make ends meet. Asking them to get their children ready for school 10 blocks further from their home when a school is steps from their front door is plainly unfair.
      It is a burden for their parents. Getting kids ready in the morning and yourself out the door is tough enough with out the burden of a extra half hour walk.

      In addition, why are they including 5 luxury building in the rezone for PS199. One of those buildings with the designation of 200 Amsterdam Avenue has not been built. I think the parents are entitled to see some figures on enrollment. Why has the rezoning taken place? I do not think it is necessary.

      It will not serve socioeconomic diversity. It will not solve overcrowding. It does not work. It is serving the interests of rich real estate developers.

      If you think the wealthy would not be interested in saving $250,000.00 for each child for an education from K-8th grade. Think Again.

    11. Former 191 parent says:

      The echo chamber in here is pretty amazing.

      The people being shifted out of 199 are advocating for their interest. It makes complete sense for them. But I can’t understand why people are listening to them.

      From what I can tell, these parents have done zero research into 191.

      1. 191 is no longer listed as Persistently Dangerous
      2. The new principal has brought a new spirit to the school.
      3. The school has an amazing partnership with Lincoln Center

      Btw, if you research why the school was classified as Persistently Dangerous, you’ll find things like this:

      “At P.S. 191, for instance, a student throwing a ball at another student was logged as assault with a weapon”

      http://www.chalkbeat.org/posts/ny/2016/08/02/only-four-new-york-city-schools-now-on-states-persistently-dangerous-list/

      One of the large problems 191 had when we were there was fundraising. The PTA raised $14,000 for the year across the entire Pre-K – 8 grades.

      There are good teachers at 191, and staff who cares. Getting some parents who can be involved in driving change and increasing fundraising at the school would do wonders.

      • Lisa says:

        I agree! I kept my daughter at PS191 because she cried when I told her she would be attending PS 199 our zoned school . Let’s do this as a community and bring 191 up to the standards of other schools in our community. We built a library for this school let us not stop. Donate to this school, volunteer as as a community service, go to Donorschoose and support the teachers who are only given 144 dollars a year to supply their classrooms, it really takes all of us. Let’s keep these amazing teachers who have been asked to do so much with nothing, and they keep doing it . Rember this might be the only public school for our children in our community. Let’s bring it up together for our children and children to come. The DOE doors not care,but we better! Let’s make a rally cry around this school, for all of us!

    12. Ruby says:

      “CEC3 Mission Statement

      Community Education Council 3 (CEC3) of New York City believes that every child is entitled to a high quality education, a safe and healthy school environment, and equal educational opportunities. The mission of CEC3 is to promote and support the educational needs of District 3 elementary and middle school students by representing and advocating for District 3 families to the NYC Department of Education.”