PARENT ‘COALITION’ SENDS SCATHING LETTER OPPOSING SCHOOL REZONING, THREATENS LEGAL ACTION

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Parents and educators attended a meeting last week on the school rezoning.

A group of parents going by “The Coalition of District 3 Parents” has sent a letter to Community Education Council 3 opposing that group’s plan to rezone Upper West Side schools. We’ve posted the letter below.

The coalition, whose members are not listed on the letter, says that the educational council overstepped its boundaries by submitting a letter to the Department of Education last week proposing its own plan for rezoning the schools. That letter shocked many parents, who spoke against the plan at a meeting last Wednesday. The Wall Street Journal, which reported on the letter earlier on Monday, said the coalition includes parents who are opposed to moving PS 452 from 77th to 61st Street. We received the letter, which was dated Sunday, Oct. 23, from a parent who opposes the 452 re-siting.

By law, the Department of Education is the organization that drafts rezoning lines and sends them to CEC3 for final approval. The Department of Education will still draft its own plan for rezoning by Nov. 3 and present it to the CEC3 for approval. But when the CEC made stringent take-it-or-leave-it type demands in its own proposal, it acted outside of its role, the letter charges. “By the Plan, which the proponents thereof clearly intend to be the ultimate plan voted upon in the coming weeks, the CEC (i) violated the Open Meetings Law (as defined below), and (ii) proposed a plan that is against the best interests of District 3 and fails to satisfy the DOE’s and CEC’s goals of addressing the overcrowding and diversity challenges faced by the District.”

The parent group is asking for extensive data, including emails and other correspondence from top officials, about this issue to be posted on the CEC3 website. If they don’t get it, there could be legal consequences.

“Should responses to these Freedom of Information Law requests not be provided promptly, we will commence a proceeding under 2006 New York Code, Article 78 (“Article 78″) and seek a declaratory judgment that the CEC violated the Open Meetings Law and acted outside the scope of its authority in proposing the Plan to the DOE in contravention of the Open Meeting Law.”

The Community Education Council is a parent board that votes on zoning lines and comments on educational matters. It’s the closest thing the neighborhood has to a school board but it isn’t one: it doesn’t have the same rights or responsibilities, and members are elected by other parents, not the community at large. We’ve reached out to Joe Fiordaliso, president of CEC3, wrote the following response:

“During my four years as President, CEC3 has always conducted itself properly and the recent letter to the Chancellor is no exception.  Spurious claims only detract from efforts to relieve and prevent overcrowding, enhance diversity and combat segregation in our schools, and put all District 3 schools in the best position to succeed.”

CEC Letter – Final by westsiderag on Scribd

NEWS, SCHOOLS | 108 comments | permalink
    1. MichaelSctt says:

      Wow! This is not good for the DOE/CEC.

    2. B.B. says:

      Interesting read on the whole “District 3” and the segregation of NYC public schools in general. http://citylimits.org/2016/10/24/building-justice-segregation-in-nyc-schools-is-no-accident/

      • Sherman says:

        Joe Fiordaliso is sure good at telling everyone else to send their kids to subpar schools but he made sure his kid got into PS199.

        • Jessica says:

          Too right! Joe F is looking out for Joe F and that’s about it.

          Wasn’t there some theory a few months back that he was involved in zoning lines that ensured that his apartment would be OUT of the 199 zone (now that his kids are (or almost are?) out of 199) thereby forcing his landlord to lower his rent? Maybe too much conspiracy but I would not put it past him..

    3. Anon1 says:

      The CEC gets what it deserves.

      Everyone, including an elected parent body, should not be above the law.

    4. BeHonestYouHaveNoGoodPlanEitherParents says:

      These parents are ridiculous. Great message you guys are sending to your kids. If you don’t get what you want, threaten to sue. These parents are like little league parents gone wild.

      Two things:

      1) the letter is a letter. A suggestion. Not any legal binding document. It’s a suggestion to the DOE, written by some local folk who live in the area and send their kids to school. At the end of the day, the DOE can accept the suggestions. They could amend it. They could put forth their own plan. There is no “take it or leave it”.

      2) I’m not sure how these parents feel blindsided by this. This discussion of moving 452 has been going on for many months. What changed in the letter? Very little.

      These parents can hire their lawyers and take this to the Supreme Court. They looks like idiots in doing it. And at the end of the day, all they are looking for is to delay the move of their school. And they will win. Just wrong. Just accept that people who know a little bit more about schools than you are trying to fix bigger issues than your 12 block commute. And while this plan isn’t even the tip of the iceberg, it just shows that any meaningful change will be met with pushback from litigious parents like these families.

      • Anon2 says:

        Actually – The President of the CEC is quoted in the press as essentially stating that “this is the plan, stand with us or not.” The CEC can call it a letter, they can call it advice, for all I care, they can call it an apple. But let’s be real here – the CEC is basically telling the DOE that this is what they will vote to approve.

        While I agree with some of the points you make in your comment, I don’t think it is acceptable for an advisory board to essentially throw down the gauntlet to the DOE (which in my mind, they are doing).

        Yes, the discussion about moving 452 has been going on for months, but the recent past presentations from the DOE clearly were moving away from that decision. The DOE came out with plan c which kept 452 on 77th Street and stated that opening a new school at W. 61st Street would provide more elementary school sections in the district and overcrowding has been and will likely continue to be a major problem in the southern portion of the district. So, I do think it is fair to say some families feel blindsided. In addition, the CEC added new buildings to the 191 school zone that had never been mentioned before. I think they should feel the same way.

        Let’s also be very clear about one thing. Some members of the CEC are not merely some “local folk”. Most are, but not all.

        Do I think threatening a lawsuit is the correct approach. Maybe not for me, but process has been thrown out the window by this one.

        I’ve said on this blog and others – the simple answer is this. If the CEC/DOE believe in their plan and the numbers then let the 452 parents that want to move with the school go and those that don’t, give them guaranteed spots in their newly zoned schools. This way you are at least providing some compromise.

        • Actually proposes plan says:

          I don’t think that anything said to or reported to the press will have much weight in the courts. Nor do I think that the courts are the right place to take this matter. You guys can continue with your “sour grapes” argument all you want, but it’s just not a winner. Especially given that the CEC is hardly an agency under the law.

          My recommendation is to use your energy and time and actually create a plan that is better than your plan. Then the DOE will have no good reason to reject your plan.

    5. Mamaebbes says:

      The DOE will still present its own plan. The CEC3 can effectively say whatever it wants but the DOE has to present its own plan. This has not happened yet. Why don’t we wait and see what that plan is? I’m pretty sure not even the brilliant district 3 parents have the ability to predict the future.

      • Anon says:

        Mamaebbes – here’s the problem. The DOE has made it pretty clear through their actions that they are looking for a plan that they know will garner the necessary votes from the CEC. At multiple points in the process they were clearly looking to the CEC to tell them what to do. I don’t blame the CEC for putting forth this letter (I do disagree with how it was done – if the facts in the response by these parents are true) since we could be waiting forever for the DOE to come up with something.

        If I were a betting man, I’d bet that the DOE’s plan looks very similar to the CEC’s “letter”.

      • angeline says:

        Yes, it will be interesting to see what the DOE proposes.

        I think:
        1) DOE will split up the Amsterdam Houses in some way, this idea has gone too far and I think the administration likes it because it promotes diversity
        2) The new zone for 191 will include all of the Riverside Blvd buildings from 200RSB southwards because we haven’t really heard that much protest. Main protest coming from the Lincoln Towers contingent

        Radical but not improbable:
        1) No zone lines, everyone just lottery into 191, new building or 199. DOE puts some money on the table to pilot study controlled choice.

        I am about 50-50 on the 452 move, I think there is a strong chance it won’t happen, and maybe 40-60 on the Lincoln Towers (maybe they get to stay in 199). zone)

    6. Juan says:

      Until it submitted its letter to the DOE, I was fairly confident that the CEC was competent and the DOE was highly incompetent. Though the letter had a number of bright spots, overall it made me lose a lot of confidence in the CEC (or make that those members of the CEC who actually supported the letter). I don’t have a lot of confidence in either group now, which is scary, as combined they have a lot of power.

      In particular, it is the 452 relocation that really puzzles me. Something had to be done about 199 and 191 and people were going to be unhappy. But picking up and moving 452 made no sense. Whether you agree with them or not, it is clear that many 452 families will not make the move, so whatever minimal data was used about where people live now and where they will end up will not actually reflect the outcome of this change. I truly get the feeling that no one thought one step ahead and considered this.

      • Brandon says:

        Juan,
        Here on PS 452’s own website it states that their principal called the DOE and asked to move into the 191 building when he found out it was available.
        http://www.ps452.org/potential-re-site-of-ps452.html
        The parents might not like the plan but you can’t blame to DOE or CEC when the school’s administration came up with the idea.

        • Juan says:

          It is widely accepted that the majority of the parents at 452 don’t want to move – how big of a majority is subject to debate. The principal, who I gather was fairly well liked until recently, went against the wishes of the majority of the parents with this recommendation. And I generally get the impression that it is a majority that feels very strongly. The CEC should listen to the parents, not the principal.

        • Christine E says:

          If the principal wants a new building, the principal can be reassigned to the new school that the DOE supposedly is making. And 452 can stay where it is. We Need more seats, especially in the south of the district. Not more chaos.

        • hb says:

          I’m dumbfounded a principal – an employee of the community and DOE – can have such a say in the matter. I almost want to believe this is wrong information. How does the principal expect to continue on pissing off so many parents? doesn’t work that way.

    7. Pigeon says:

      I admire the time and effort CEC3 has been putting into this very important and very heated issue but I also admire the people who are threatening a lawsuit.

      A lot of families lives would be severely disrupted by the proposed changes. So, if it’s not done right, go ahead and get the courts involved.

      But it’s complicated. I’d rather have CEC3 doing the re-zoning than De Blasio’s dreadful DOE.

      • Anon says:

        Pigeon –

        At this point, I am beginning to think Albany should not extend mayoral control of the public schools next year. I cannot believe how botched this process has become. What an utter disaster for everyone involved.

    8. Lee says:

      Surprise, surprise…

      Don’t any of you remember all the amazing info about the level of corruption within the district as a result of these power and money hungry individuals in charge of our children’s education? Aren’t some of these names FAMILIAR?? Go back to previous articles about PS 199 specifically and the re-zoning of the district and maybe you will see a common theme…. So to this humble reader there is NO surprise that CEC3 stepped over its bounds – there ARE no “bounds” to step over as far as they are concerned. Anyone who is shocked by any of this has not been paying attention to the dynamics at work and the fact that there is always more to the story than meets the eye ….

    9. JS says:

      Schools will not improve in New York City until de facto segregation (essentially apartheid) ceases in the housing market. I.e., not in any of our lifetimes.

      • Anon says:

        No schools will not change until the DOE is out of the picture. Watch Waiting for Superman. Read the Stanford research.

        “Our findings show urban charter schools in the aggregate provide significantly higher levels of annual growth in both math and reading compared to their TPS peers.”

        http://urbancharters.stanford.edu/summary.php

        Read any research. Not Helen Rosenthal misquoting the research. The research all says that what works is parent choice. Whether they are parent chosen magnate schools or charter schools. Read The NY Times and WSJ editorials. Tell me the last time the editors of those two papers agreed on a subject? They both agree that there should be more charter schools. Do you know that there are more than 44,000 NY city children on wait lists to go to charter schools? What does that say about people’s confidence in DOE run schools?

        What do you think parents want? They want excellent and safe public schools. That’s all they want. Not some poorly thought through plan that is being forced on parents.

        Not one DOE or CEC member involved in this process is impacted. Do you know what a senior DOE member involved in the process told me, I am looking for a place to buy that is in a good school zone.

        Beware of people who know what’s good for you and do not practice what they preach.

        • Dissentus Publius says:

          Unacceptable unilateral / position by Ms. Rosenthal & Ms. Brewer. According to Ms. Rosenthal’s newsletter, she ‘supports integration’ for ‘all our children’. See below. Well and good; we all do. Problem is she beholden to represent HER DISTRICT’S electorate not all of NYC districts; OURS! Particularly as this is a far different issue of demographics than ‘integration’. Let’s face it she is effectively branding parents “racist’ who differ and see the obvious value of and want & have every right as taxpayers to preserve school locus of their kids’ school. Apparently she remains oblivious and supports easy politically expedient top down solutions versus work necessary to assist parents who elected her & Ms. Brewer. It’s easier than fighting for her constituents. Remember all parents, UWS and LT, are single issue voters when it comes to our kids. But she was not elected to lecture her tax payer constituents and subject them to social justice grandstanding. Her voters know what they want and expect she & Ms. Brewer to fight for on their behalf. That is if they want our votes again. In any event although her newsletter glosses over this connivance (no other word applies) parents are tired of this and are organizing. They have EVERY REASONABLE RIGHT to do so and are determined this is not going to stand.
          Happy Halloween!

          So here’s what Helen says she’s decided for us (e-newsletter excerpt):

          “As we continue to wait for the final school re-zone plan for our district, I am deeply concerned about the need to integrate our schools to achieve quality education for all our children. You can read my op-ed on desegregation in City & State New York.
          I support the CEC3 re-zone plan and there are two additional CEC public meetings prior to their vote on November 9th. apparently.

          • @SoapboxO says:

            Amsterdam Houses residents are members of UWS community. They deserve Rosenthal and Brewer’s advocacy too.

            • Anon says:

              Fully agree. But Helen Rosenthal certainly is not looking out for the interests of Amsterdam Houses. If she were she would provide a charter school option for them. Currently of 41 students in the PS 191 zone 16 go to Success Academy. What does that tell you about what the parents in Amsterdam Houses think about a DOE run school. Currently there are 44,000 students on charter school waiting lists. Yet Helen, the CEC and DOE are vehemently against charter schools. Hmmm, do you think they are beholden to other special interests?

            • @SoapboxO says:

              Charters are also aggressive about suspensions, pushouts, skimming, counseling out, and not handling special needs kids well. Charters may be good at branding themselves to parents, but education is not about school branding, it’s about serving kids even if they drag your numbers down.

        • Bonnie Rice says:

          Well stated!

      • B.B. says:

        You mean *some* schools don’t you?

        Since the problem seems to be public schools located in areas with a certain demographic of parents are doing well, this versus those that don’t and aren’t.

      • 22 high rises + 1/3 NYCHA = success says:

        We should be clear about what the root problem here is. The problem here is the defacto segregation that ensues when hundreds of families in a large zone full of luxury housing simultaneously avoid a school.

        It’s really sad because the 191 zone could have easily have had 150 kids per grade (like 199 does) if the local families had supported the public system. With little more than 30 kids a grade from NYCHA, the school would have only been 20% low income – similar to P.S. 9 (which is 19% low income). However, too few families have been willing to be “pioneers”. What is needed in these situations is a “critical mass” shift so that everyone is making the leap together. This is exactly what is happening on two fronts.

        – First, we have 8 luxury high rises being rezoned from 199 to 191 at once.

        – Second, we have 2/3 of the NYCHA kids being zoned out of 191 (save grandfathering).
        In the end, each of these schools should have about a dozen low-income children per grade. That is not much considering that the CEC projects that 191 will eventually need to hold 150 kids per grade. That is only 9 percent low income. P.S. 191 is 7% low income.

        Read this article, which explains this phenomenon – “The City’s Schools are Even More Divided than Our Housing”

        http://www.centernyc.org/segregatedschools/

    10. @SoapboxO says:

      Wouldn’t the remedy for an unauthorized meeting simply be an open meeting? And the CEC already held an open meeting to discuss the Plan. Lawsuit moot?

      • Pigeon says:

        That could be one of many potential remedies. The law be what the judge do.

      • Anon says:

        @SoapboxO – I’m trying to read through the law and figure it out now. I do not believe that holding the meeting that the CEC did last Wednesday corrects the problem.

        The way I read the statute, the CEC needed to hold a meeting in public in which they discussed what they were proposing in their “Letter.”. Once they held that open meeting, then they would have to hold a roll call vote in public.

        I think the CEC (or some group thereof) thought they could circumvent the law by calling this a “letter”, but based on comments at the meeting it was pretty clear that a few CEC members worked on this behind closed doors.

        What are the ultimate remedies. The first is declaratory relief which would essentially be a court order saying that the CEC acted in violation of the law. The second remedy would be an injunction stopping all of this from taking place. I presume this will be very difficult to obtain.

        I think the important part of this letter is the FOIA request. If the CEC/DOE, etc. don’t comply it will certainly set off alarm bells as to the partiality.

        Let’s see how this all plays out.

      • DUH! says:

        No… there is a process! It’s the law! If you were denied your right to the full process because some self interested group of people think it’s ok to skip over it… you may feel differently.

        • @SoapboxO says:

          Very skeptical about this lawsuit. As UWS Mom pointed out, there’s literally a quotation out there about 1 CEC member being blindsided, saying “This plan was not formulated by CEC.”

          Declaratory relief without any actual affirmative remedy doesn’t sound like much more than moral victory. An injunction implies an ongoing violation and there is none here.

          Like someone else said, complaining parents should put their energies into devising a plan to integrate the students from the NYCHA buildings. Until they do that, the anger comes across as complaints coming from an indefensible position, full of sound and fury, but ultimately signifying nothing.

          • Anon says:

            The initiative for solving the severe PS 191 underperformance should have occurred years ago. The DOE and CEC need to reach out to parents to jointly solve the problem. It needs to be with parents with a stake, not the CEC whose only stake is to reduce overcrowding in PS 199 so their kids have a less crowded school. No one on the CEC will ever have to send their kids to PS 191. In corporate governance that’s what we call a conflict. When there is a conflict, conflicted parties are required to recuse themselves.

            The parents are fighting a poorly thought through plan. Read the research. Schools succeed when they are driven by parents choice. Leaders lead. Dictators force.

            • SoapboxO says:

              You conveniently leave out that PS199 will be absorbing 42% of the Amsterdam Houses population while the new PS191 will only be getting 25%.

              They have acted in the interests of creating a successful new PS191 at the expense of PS199. The principle at work here seems to be a recognition that a new PS191 will initially be a harder sell than PS199 so PS199 is taking more of the Amsterdam Houses students to help get the new PS191 on its feet.

    11. Pigeon says:

      If CEC3 really had the zone’s best interest at heart, they would have recommended moving the Anderson School out of the O’Shea building.

      The Anderson is a city wide school. There is no reason for it to take up much-needed space in our zone.

      • DUH! says:

        AMEN! May people say Anderson is sort of untouchable… too many people on the CEC/DOE have direct connections to the school and the votes against that option are stacked!
        Maybe if we could force people with self interest to abstain from the vote, Anderson would be in the new building or at 191… or downtown where it’s allowed to be!

      • anon says:

        You act like the school on W 77th is overcrowded so 452 is being kicked out. That is NOT the situation. PS 452’s principal asked to move. The school is underenrolled where it is (and that is with many out of zone kids). Moving Anderson would create empty seats on 77th St but there is nobody clamoring to fill them.

        • Cass says:

          The Principal ‘inquired’ about the 191 space because no one would talk about moving Anderson! And Why Not? That citywide G&T school could go ANYWHERE in NYC! It should go into the soon to be vacated building in the northern part of the district. Why won’t the DOE do that? They won’t even discuss it! Who has made a “deal” with whom on this one? Don’t ask Kim Watkins about conflicts of interest, she’ll pivot the question then shout you down and claim you’re out of order when you try to correct her.

          Open a new school in the 191 building and move Anderson. You solve the high enrollment problem at 199, you prevent future problems at 87 and 9 and 166, and you don’t again rezone families that were rezoned 6 years ago. I’m tired of talking about this, and I’m disgusted by this inept CEC.

          • 22 high rises + 1/3 NYCHA = success says:

            Anderson, with 550 kids, is too large to move to most facilities. If it were to move to 191’s current building, it would take up desperately needed seats in the southern area of the district. The overcrowding is going to get even worse when Riverside Center is completed.

            The Amsterdam facility is designed to hold less than 600 kids (591 is DOE’s target capacity). They are considered under-enrolled because they currently have 450 kids in there. If you put Anderson’s group of 55 in there, there would not even be room for another school to squeeze in there. Even if you went 100 kids over capacity, you would have less than 150 seats for another school.

            http://nycsca.org/Community/Capital-Plan-Reports-Data#Enrollment-Capacity-Utilization-69

            • 22 high rises + 1/3 NYCHA = success says:

              I meant Anderson’s group of 550 in there..

            • hb says:

              you can split the lower grade and middle school of Anderson to accommodate space.
              come on people, let’s use our brains here. Anderson needs to move and 452 should expand and alleviate a big chunk of 199’s overcrowding. big part of current 191 zone can be absorbed by 199 if that happens. also give current 191 zoned residents the option of applying to 87 and 9, so we can spread the Amsterdam housing community and not just 199.

            • 22 high rises plus 1/3 NYCHA = success says:

              Hb,

              The plan does involve the sharing of the Amsterdam Houses. 199 gets the two northern buildings in addition to the extension. The test are split between 452 and 191.
              It is about a dozen low income kids in each grade in each school. There are just over 30 low income kids per grade in 191.

            • 22 high rises plus 1/3 NYCHA = success says:

              I meant rest are split.

          • UWS Mom says:

            I agree with you 100%. All this talk and nobody can give a good reason why Anderson as a citywide school can’t move to the under-utilized space in the northern part of the district.

            It makes no sense to move a NEIGHBORHOOD school and leave a CITYWIDE school in an area where overcrowding is such a huge issue. I can’t believe some comments call the 15 block distance a “minor inconvenience”. There are parents/caregivers who would have to coordinate pickup/drop off with younger siblings in strollers through rain and snow. Many of the 452 parents decided to forego commuting to G&T programs for the benefits of a neighborhood school! If 452 does get re-sited, it is only fair that the DOE offers these families the option of attending their newly zoned school instead.

            • 22 high rises + 1/3 NYCHA = success says:

              The main problem with 452 is that demand was so low in the area that nearly half full of kids that are not from its zone. With some exceptions (kids who were turned away from 199)- nearly half of 452’s kids come from less desirable schools north of 85th street.

              That means that 452 has actually worsened the school segregation problem by ciphering high economic status kids away from these northern schools.

              I feel really terrible for the families at 452 who are actually zoned for 452 and have found themselves in this situation. I would hope that many of them would be able to go into the schools that their building will be rezoned to (though likely not all would fit).

              The out-of-zone families were part of the segregation problem when they decided to go to 452. Now they should be part of the solution by going to the Amsterdam building. If that’s not tenable, then go back to the zone where you belong!

            • 22 high rises + 1/3 NYCHA = success says:

              I meant to write above “The main problem with 452 is that demand was so low in the area that nearly half of the kids are not from its zone. With some exceptions (kids turned away from 199), these families come from less desirable schools north of 85th street”

          • anon says:

            If you look at 452’s reasons for wanting to move they have to do with space sharing and having elementary kids in a school build for bigger kids. None of that is solved by Anderson moving. If 452 took in an extra 535 kids (the number Anderson has so I’ll assume that is the capacity) they would have just as many issues getting each child time in the gym, cafeteria and auditorium and they’d still be in a building where the infrastructure is sub-par.
            I’m fine with moving Anderson to the 191 building, I just don’t think that will solve what 452 says the problems are.

            • Anon says:

              “…infrastructure is sub-par.” Have you seen the inside of PS 452? It’s very nice. The are dozens and dozens of successful DOE schools with MUCH more challenging facilities. None of the Anderson elementary school parents are complaining about the facilities, either.

              If the principal of PS 452 is such a prince that he can’t function in the current space, he should leave.

            • Anon says:

              The 452 administration thinks the infrastructure is sub-par, not me. They complain that the K classrooms don’t have their own bathrooms, in the bathrooms for everyone the fixtures are too big for the littlest kids, the auditorium isn’t air conditioner, and there are too many kids competing for space in the gym and cafeteria.They list these reasons on the school’s webpage.

          • angeline says:

            PS241 is closing, but there is not going to be vacant space there. The reason that PS241 is closing is that it has been “squeezed” out by charters in the same physical space.

            PS241 is located at 240 west 113th (easy transportation),a sunny low-rise brownstone block. That building has 400+ kids going to Opportunity Charter School and 600+ kids going to Harlem Success IV.

            The truth is that finding 500+ seats on the West Side from 60th to the north is not easy. The only vacancies are in the closed/closing Catholic schools, which the DOE claims is too expensive (compare the cost of buying and renovating 555 West End with building Beacon).

            If the community wishes to not zone any children for the old PS191 building, I would rather see a charter prioritizing local children go there.

        • Pigeon says:

          “You act like the school on W 77th is overcrowded so 452 is being kicked out. That is NOT the situation.”

          No, that’s not what I’m saying. The problem is not overcrowding on W77th Street. The problem is twofold:

          1) Overcrowding in general in the neighborhood (199, 87… and it will get worse soon).

          2) The O’Shea Complex on W77 is not equipped to function with 3 schools in it. (In this sense, the problem is also overcrowding at the O’Shea Complex.)

          So our zone needs the space that the city-wide Anderson school is consuming.

          We are zoning for the future. Foresight is necessary.

    12. UWS Mom says:

      Thank you, Coalition of District 3 Parents, for calling out the misconduct by a parent advocacy group that has occurred in this process. If it requires legal action to make sure that this rezoning process is done in a transparent manner, then so be it.

      A handful of parents should not be able to go behind closed doors and submit its own demands to the DOE, while publicly making known that it will use its delegated powers to approve only a plan that meets such demands. Even one of the CEC members said at the last meeting “For those of you who feel blindsided by this plan, join the club! This plan was not formulated by CEC. It was formulated by a few members of the CEC.”

      • jess says:

        Yes and how much would you wager the group he was referring to was led by none other than Joe Fiordaliso.

    13. Rodger Lodger says:

      There is no such thing as 2006 NY Code but never mind. There is an Article 78 of the NY CPLR (civil practice law and rules). It is the process mandated for judicial review of an agency’s determination. So how confident are you this group knows what it’s doing?

      • Anon says:

        Rodger Lodger – I’ve taken a look at the sections of the law referred to in the letter (and BTW, regardless of whether 2006 New York Code is correct, the first google search I found pointed to Article 78 and all other legal references were correct) and it appears to me that these concerned parents may have hit on something. Maybe you should give them more credit then you are willing (on the legal merits along, I am not talking about whether you agree with their position)

        • Anonymous says:

          If DOE adopts as it’s proposal the CEC letter, here’s where the Article 78 goes. The parents get a stay of enforcement if the lawyers apply for it until the final determination. The reviewing court will look at the totality of the facts and circumstances, and give deference to DOE and CEC because they have studied the problem for two years and, thus, deemed to be in the best position to solve the issue. To that end, if DOE adopts the CEC proposal, which they can chapter and verse, they will be deemed to be within the scope of their authority to do so. In that case, the CEC’s vote, because they are then acting within their regulatory authority, will be affirmed by the reviewing court. The problem with everyone’s argument here is that the CEC’s recommendation can be considered in the same light as the parents who attend a public hearing. To be clear, there is no law or regulation that renders it improper for the CEC to suggest a solution. Additionally, the CEC zoning committee meetings have also been open to public attendance. Thus, I would argue that any argument that the CEC’s proposal has been adopted without public comment is not likely to be successful. There is a problem if the CEC adopts its own proposal without DOE making the same its own. That hasn’t happened here. Also, DOE is accepting written comments through it’s website as well as by mail. All this is sufficient to meet the threshold concerning public comment. In the end, the only one who will profit from an Article 78 is the attorney(s) who file it as I argue that it is a losing petition by virtue of the above-points. Sorry folks. I realize 16 blocks is further than you would like. However, other than the distance which is a meritless argument when taking in the facts and circumstances surrounding the zoning proposal, I am unclear what leg anyone has to stand on to stop the proposal if it is enacted. It is what it is.

    14. ConcernedParent says:

      Why are there no individual names listed on the letter criticizing the CEC? Why are the people who oppose the recommendations offered by the CEC only willing to be quoted anonymously by the media? They claim to want transparency but refuse to offer it themselves. Very telling.

      • anon says:

        Pure selfishness. Notice they’re very willing to go with Scenarios A and C despite the fact that those scenarios negatively impact many thousands more. It’s not about process, it’s about self-interest.

        • Anon1 says:

          Anon – Please enlighten us. How do Plans A and C negatively impact thousands of more people.

          • 452 parent says:

            I don’t understand your comment about Scenarios A and B negatively impacting thousands more parents.

            • anon says:

              Under A and C, they’d be building a school from scratch. Who will be the teachers and principal be at this new school which would open its doors 11 months? It would be a failure out of the gate. I won’t send my kids, and I and other re-zoned parents have written the DOE and CEC to this effect. You can disagree (or sue?!?) if you like, but this has a much bigger impact than your new commute. My neighbors and I live closer to 199, 87 and the current 452, so don’t talk to us about commutes and how put out you are.

            • Anon says:

              Anon, how do you think PS 452 was started? They decided to open a school, and hired a principal, three K teachers, and one specialty teacher. It’s not brain surgery. Successful new schools are started all the time. If I were you, I’d jump at the chance to start a brand new school from scratch vs joining a broken community of bitter, angry parents.

            • Anon says:

              We’ll have to agree to disagree then.

      • Anon says:

        Anon – I will not dispute with you the difficulties in starting a new school, but if we use recent history as an example, PS 452 did it. Also, nearly 70% of the incoming population at the new school will be parents currently zoned for PS 199. do you think those parents will let the school falter?

        Here is what I will take issue with. I am sorry that you and your children live closer to 199, 87 and the current 452, but there is always a risk, particularly in NYC that a rezoning can happen. Rezoning plans are supposed to (and have historically) impact FUTURE students not CURRENT students. This is the only plan that I have been able to locate that impacts current families – i.e. the existing 452 families. So, don’t tell them they have no right to complain. They do. No other families under this plan will have to make this change.

        As I have said on other blogs, if everyone wants 452 in the 191 space and the CEC is confident in their numbers and plan, then all 452 families should be offered the guaranteed right to attend their newly zoned school.

    15. HoldingCECaccountable says:

      It is so refreshing that someone is finally standing up to the CEC. We have been to numerous meetings held by the CEC, and have seen very little evidence that many parents support moving PS 452. In fact, most speakers are against the move, so when we heard that the CEC was for the move, it came as a complete shock to us. It’s also insulting to hear the members of the CEC describing the move as a “minor inconvenience to a few families”. The CEC should be held accountable for actions that impose incredible hardship on working families of District 3.

      • Ron says:

        Totally agree. I was so happy to see this brought to light by this parent group. I am so thankful I am not impacted by any of the changes being proposed by the CEC. I could only imagine how frustrated the parents of kids at 452 must be having to deal with a proposal by a few people who have what seems like their own personal interests driving it .

        • Cass says:

          Refreshing and disgusting – these guys have also found out the CEC president, Joe Fiordaliso, only selectively shared emails that were sent to his CEC email address and that letters sent to the general CEC3 email were not systematically distributed to all CEC members – can you imagine?! Good for these parents to shed light on these violations of process and self-dealing. But disgusting to learn this is what has been going on.

        • 452 parent says:

          Oh, but the CEC wants to give us a flea market. I’m sure that will solve all of 452’s problems.

    16. Susan says:

      Wahoo parents. Historically, the ONLY thing district 3 will listen to is the threat of a law suit. That’s why we have gifted and talented classes today
      Bravo

    17. LK says:

      What if we try something like this:
      1. Leave PS 452 where it is.
      2. Move PS-191 to the new schools as proposed.
      3. Move Anderson to the old PS-191 ( if there are any seats added – add those spots for District 3 only )
      4. Add G& T classes to PS 452
      5. Add a large number of G & T classes to PS 191.
      6. Shrink zones slightly for PS-9 on the south and PS-87 on the north and send kids to PS-452
      7. Adjust PS-191 and PS-199 zones closely to the current proposals.
      8. Break up PS-191 zone into “shadow” zones between ps-199, ps-9,ps-87, ps-452 ( with areas newly zoned for ps-191 shadow-zoned for 452 and allow those students to chose between ps-191 or corresponding shadow school ).
      9. All of the new developments MUST be zoned for ps-191.
      7-8-9 – will ensure smooth transition over the next 5 years towards stronger 452 & 191 and will not be a shock transition to the parents, whose kids are scheduled to start in the next year or 2.

      • UWS too says:

        Obviously, the numbers would need to be worked out, but this looks like a very good proposal….best I’ve seen.

      • @SoapboxO says:

        Are you assuming each school takes 1/3 of the Amsterdam Houses students?

      • Carlos says:

        I made a fairly similar proposal in another thread, with the additional point that the principal of 452 can move elsewhere if he doesn’t like the current facility.

        My only critique of your proposal is that as much as I agree that the current population of 191 needs to be split up, sending these kids to 9 and 452 is no more fair than the proposal to have the kids currently at 452 move to 191. I think it is more reasonable to blend some of these kids into 199, where space is being freed up by moving some kids to 452.

        Also, I agree 100% with the proposal to move Anderson so that 452 can stay where it is. But I wonder if the CEC has any jurisdiction to recommend that Anderson gets moved? That might be part of why that option was never really on the table, though the DOE could have included it.

        • angeline says:

          Maybe Anderson should be moved.

          But neither PS191 nor the new building should be used for that purpose. If Anderson were to move into one of these buildings, we are explicitly allowing the southern end of D3 to be under-served for public gen ed seats. The number of new buildings far outnumbers the NYCHA complex and no new school has been built in this area since PS199.

          Do we really want to send the message to the politicians and developers that there is absolutely no need to provide new school seats to match the construction?

          I am in favor of finding Anderson its own building and letting it expand into HS, somewhere on the West Side that has good access to public transit. But not in the overcrowded southern end of the district. Above 86th, there are at least 3 Catholic schools near transportation that are recently closed, and likely more in the future (I think it will only be Blessed Sacrament that survives). All these sites need to be looked at as potential spaces for Anderson.

          • Carlos says:

            I have a few possible solutions to this:

            1) If Anderson is at the current 191 building, a lot of space will be freed up at O’Shea. So everything will essentially slide up – kids now in the northern part of 199 will move to 452 since there will be plenty of space, relieving overcrowding at 199 and freeing up some space there. I am not totally sure how to then draw the lines, but then redraw the lines so that some of the Amsterdam Houses kids go to 199, and some 199 kids go to the new school. Use the remaining extra space at O’Shea for pre-k and to potentially expand the middle school.

            2) A more radical addendum to this is that if there are projections of massive overcrowding in the lower part of the district (I think this is overstated as most kids in new luxury buildings will not be going to public school), redraw the district. Based on very quick internet research, I found that PS111 on West 53rd is an underutilized and rapidly improving school. Why not carve out the lower few blocks of our zone and add it to District 2 with the kids going to PS111? Again, this is likely beyond the scope of the CEC’s jurisdiction, but it could be a solution. Unfortunately, I don’t think a solution like this could be implemented in the ridiculously accelerated time frame we are now facing.

      • 22 high rises + 1/3 NYCHA = success says:

        Anderson, with 550 kids, is too large to move to most facilities. If it were to move to 191’s current building, it would take up desperately needed seats in the southern area of the district. The overcrowding is going to get even worse when Riverside Center is completed.

        The Amsterdam facility is designed to hold less than 600 kids (591 is DOE’s target capacity). They are considered under-enrolled because they currently have 450 kids in there. If you put Anderson’s group of 55 in there, there would not even be room for another school to squeeze in there. Even if you went 100 kids over capacity, you would have less than 150 seats for another school.

        http://nycsca.org/Community/Capital-Plan-Reports-Data#Enrollment-Capacity-Utilization-69

      • Christine E says:

        I agree with the above. And leave the other zones alone (9, 166, 84, 163, 165, etc). And any school that is too crowded has to reduce/eliminate G&T first. As 9 admirably did. In-zone students should take precedence.

      • LK says:

        “And leave the other zones alone (9, 166, 84, 163, 165, etc).” This is a nice thought, but these schools are going to be affected. If 452 is re-sitted the affected population will move to ps-87, ps-9, ps-199 essentially crowding out the zoned kids.

        Re:other points: @Carlos, as you said a significant number of ps-191 kids would be absorbed by ps-199 ( students moving to ps-452 ) and ps-452. But there would still be some remaining at PS-191. Offer them an option to go to PS-9 and PS-87. They might decline it but at least they have a choice.

        The main points, though, are:
        1. We can’t achieve something good by messing up so many lives. That’s why I’m trying to find a transition ( such as shadow zones for ps-191 and option of ps-452 for ps-199 ).
        2. We can’t achieve success by shuffling so many variables – schools, zones, students. Keeping PS-452 and expanding it seems like a priority to me; otherwise, PS-9 and PS-87 will have a severe crisis immediately following the current crisis.
        3. Follow up on stability – one can’t shove new buildings into overcrowded zones. Make the default school to be ps-191 – developers will find ways to contribute.
        4. build a new school – issue bonds for the taxpayers, grab developers by the horns and solve this.
        5. Offer real programs at PS-191 and PS-452 that will attract people – don’t just play musical chairs and take people for fools.
        6. The plan that’s in place should offer clear vision to community that they’ll have better schools for their children ( both ps-191 and ps-199 ).

    18. a parent says:

      It is all about trust (or lack of).
      The community at large does not trust the CEC. There are good reasons for that.

      Only last year Joe Fiordaliso claimed that goal of the CEC with the rezoning plan is to solve the overcrowding of PS199, and not to solve the diversity issues. Only a year later, suddenly desegregation becomes a morale obligation. Last year Joe argued that the CEC cannot propose a new plan to the DOE, this year the exact same Joe made a proposal.

      I believe that this year plan regarding ps199 and 191 is much better than last year DOE plan (I am ignoring the 452 proposal for now). The plan assumes that with the new socioeconomic mix of the student body ps 191 will be as good as 199 in 5 years. However, the plan does not provide any suggestion how to attract the ps-199 families to 191 right now. Parents with means will not send their kids to a school with a greatschool rating of 2. Moreover, even within 5 years, the proposed plan does not suggest how to handle the segregation of grades 6-8 at 191. The performance of the 191 middle school will heart the reputation of the entire school even in 5 years.

      Because of the lack of trust with the CEC, there is no dialog within the community on how to resolve these issues. We experience a dynamic of shouting at the public hearing, legal threats, etc.

      If the CEC leadership want to gain the public trust again, I suggest the following:
      1. Be transparent– You should have make your proposal public and hear the community feedback before submitting the letter to the DOE. You should publish the CEC meeting protocol in which you agree to send this letter, rather than surprise the community (and some CEC members)
      2. Stop the spin machine – It is not clear if the 452 parent body supports the plan. Stop claiming otherwise.
      3. Improve the plan – the immediate performance of 191 is a true issue. The school leadership is great, but it is not enough. How do you plan to attract 199 families right now? What are the plans regarding the middle school?
      4. Be an example – If Joe think that it is a great plan, I will expect him to send his kids to 191. If Kim think it’s a great plan, I will expect he to send her kids back to 191.

      • UWS Mom says:

        Really good points you made here.

        Upper class families who live a stone throw’s distance from 199 are being assigned 9 blocks south so they can SACRIFICE their children’s education for the sake of “diversity” and hope of turning around a failing school for the benefit of kids who aren’t born yet. Is the DOE and CEC so stupid to think that families who can afford to live in luxury Trump buildings today are going to just go along with this???

        My advice to the DOE/CEC? Go to the drawing board and think – what is it going to take to ATTRACT these families to become pioneers in a failing school? Some ideas – (1) a Spanish dual-language program (there should be enough students in Amsterdam Houses to populate the native speaker portion of the program) , or (2) a G&T program with the understanding that it will be moved or phased out after 10 years.

        Or if they don’t entertain those ideas, at the VERY MINIMUM they should phase out 191 (not just move and rename it). New families would pioneer a new completely school in the Riverside Center building (co-located with 191 being phased out). Many families will still move out, but other families may be willing to give it a shot knowing that they aren’t burdened with all the current failures in the upper grades.

      • angeline says:

        The CEC (apart from 2 appointees) is selected by the president, treasurer & recording secretary of PTA/PA in the entire district.

        If people are unhappy with the CEC representatives, they should speak to their PTA/PA Exec board and ask them why they have elected these individuals.

      • Angeline Huang says:

        In the past, the schools that have improved have all had a few things in common:

        Very strong principals who recruited neighborhood parents.

        1) PS87 – Naomi Hill
        http://www.city-journal.org/html/my-public-school-lesson-11876.html

        2) PS 199 – Goldstein and later Carol Stock

        In-demand G&T programs, where the kids joined their siblings in gen ed
        1) PS 9 (Anderson started here)
        2) PS166

        All this without intervention or help from the DOE or CEC.

        The information age has actually hurt, I think. Instead of meeting with principals or staff face to face, people (including myself) are turning to online forums and websites to pick their schools. Demographics – click, test scores – click. Whereas previously, you suspected but didn’t really know how schools really did, now you do. Much harder to turn around a school in this climate.

    19. The DOE is evading its responsibilities in the most cynical way possible. It is truly shocking that instead of addressing the problems of underperforming school children they think that by shifting kids around this will solve the problem of why they cannot read, write and do math.

      The DOE has to identify the children who are underperforming, and why? They must address these problems head on.
      Only then will we make any progress in addressing the problem

      • angeline says:

        Please google the “achievement gap” – there is no way NYC public schools can easily fix this, so some charters claim to have done it (but of course, self-selecting group).

      • anon says:

        It isn’t a big secret that success in school is correlated with HHI and education level of parents. New immigrants do better then native born Americans of the same HHI. The kids at 191 who are not as well off as their 199 counterparts are also more likely to be from a single parent household. They are more likely to enter kindergarten not knowing letters and numbers let alone how to read and write. They need resources — more teachers, aids, Special Ed teachers, OT, PT, etc but the school budget is the same as any NYC school with an equal number of kids (plus a little extra if Title 1 but not enough to pay for everything they need). The way the DOE can help is to split these kids among wealthier schools. If a PS 199 doesn’t have budget for 2 adults in every classroom they’ll raise it. They don’t have to choose between a reading specialist and an art teacher because the parents will find the money for both. When all the LMC kids are in the same school that school simply cannot compete. This is why the schools need to be diverse. I understand why parents being rezoned are unhappy. The DOE and the CEC are supposed to help all students. This plan (or another one that would split the Amsterdam Houses) will help kids. That is what we, the liberal UWS or just anyone who lives in a country where these kids will be entering the workforce one day, should want that.

        • a parent says:

          Anon I agree 100%. This is why a group of parent suggested to pair the two schools last year.

          Regarding this year proposal, the plan fall short in the short run. It does not suggest how to improve the school and attract parents right now. It is also ignoring the 6-8 grades of the school that will still be segregated.

        • Anon says:

          Anon

          Can you forward me a link to a school where your suggestions work? It is not just about resources it is about approach. Different situations require different approaches. I will show you study after study that shows that what works is parents choice. Magnet schools and yes that dreaded word with the UWS, charter schools. See the post above on the amazing results that these schools have delivered. DOE run schools have never delivered such results.

    20. James says:

      As a parent with a child entering Kindergarten next year, and living in a part of the district which may very well change our school zone for the second time since moving here in just a few short years, I’ll add this to the conversation:

      We will fill out our applications, and enter our child into the school where he is given admission. We will decide with our own two eyes if we like the school. If we don’t, we will move somewhere else – within or outside the City.

      Frankly trying to follow this process (We attended a few meetings at the onset before realizing what this was going to be) is obscene and it’s pretty evident that there are insane amounts of politics.

      I prefer to take the zen approach that I’ll decide with my own two eyes if NYC can deliver a quality public education for my Son without worrying about all this. And if NYC decides it cannot provide that for my Child, I’ll simply put my tax dollars into a town which will.

      Maybe in the meantime I’ll save a few gray hairs by not getting too up in arms about these obscure debates about who really owns public assets and how this will affect everybody’s sacred property investments, where the CEC3’s children go to school, and what community group has the better lawyer with lots of extra time to litigate this shenanigans.

    21. Paul RL says:

      Good. I hope the parents win and the DOE is finally forced to look inward at its idiotic policies.

      • mark deletorre says:

        Deblasio and the DOE are really looking like a bunch of idiots. This administration is totally incompetent.They basically are being bullied into an idiotic plan by a parent group. Come on man!

    22. Anon says:

      I just received an email notice from the CEC postponing this weekend’s public hearing. Perhaps they are circling the wagons…..

    23. I still don't understand says:

      Why is moving 452 better for integration than opening a brand new school at the vacant 191 building?

      Why are parents who are opposed to moving 452 considered against integration?

      Wouldn’t integration of our schools be served just as well if a new school was opened and 452 remained where it is?

      • Another 452 parent says:

        It isn’t better. The move of PS452 has nothing to do with integration or sub-par facilities. If the CEC was truly devoted to fixing these issues, they’d have to figure out how to move half the schools on the Upper West Side.

        PS 452 is moving because the District 3 superintendent Ilene Atschul and the CEC are TOO LAZY to hire and supervise a new principal. Take a look at the letter- they pretty much admit it.

        The CEC figures if they throw a couple hundred 452 parents under the bus in the name of “integration,” they’ll look like heroes, and no one will notice that the rest of their plan is devoted to maintaining resources for their G&T programs and PS199.

        • Beth says:

          @Another 452 Parent – At a zoning meeting during the past year (which I’m guessing you didn’t attend) Superintendent Altschul said that it took two years to find a principal for the new middle school. Is it surprising then that they took Mr. Parker up on his offer to move, if a new school has to open in September 2017?

          • Anon says:

            Beth – Then you would also know that the DOE hired Mr. Parker and opened PS 452 in the span of 9 months. The Superintendent at another CEC meeting (perhaps one you didn’t attend) told the CEC that although the timing was tight, they could have administration and staff in place at a new school.

    24. Anon says:

      So the current 452 zoned families can’t walk to 61st St. but the current 191 families who live around 61st St can walk to 87 or 9? PS 9 is further than the 452 kids would be commuting and have the same traffic issue at 72nd St plus having to cross 79th.

    25. Anon says:

      So, the President of the CEC (Joe)and the chair of the zoning committee (Kim) will be speaking (i.e. rallying for support) at PS 87 tomorrow night.

      Interesting how they are going to speak and not the CEC3 representative to the school.

      I would suggest that any parents that are for or against the plan show up at PS 87 and hear what they have to say.

      • Anon says:

        Wait, what? The heads of the CEC are giving a presentation tomorrow? With no public notice? How do these people get away with this stuff?

        • Anon says:

          Anon – they don’t need to give notice. They are going to a scheduled PTA meeting at a school. It is not an official CEC meeting. Not that it makes it any better.

        • Anon says:

          Folks – the head of the CEC is a lobbyist by trade. He has come under attack for not following the process and now he is going on a road show to garner as much support as he can.

          I will avoid saying anything negative, but this man is smart. If he gets an overwhelming show of support for the plan, then he wins the PR battle and the DOE will be forced to go with his plan.

          Zoning should be an open discussion by the parents, this process has been anything but.

          • Disgusted says:

            Just end the sham process of soliciting public comment. If you really don’t care what the parents think, then let us spend evenings home with our kids.