DOE Backs Off Plan for Speedy District 3 North Rezoning

The DOE's rezoning proposal for the northern portion of District 3. | NYC DOE
The DOE’s rezoning proposal for the northern portion of District 3. | NYC DOE

BY JACKSON CHEN | The Department of Education has withdrawn its rezoning proposal for the northern portion of District 3 amidst concerns from parents and Community Education Council 3 members that the process was being rushed.The DOE’s withdrawal was first reported by The New York Times.

The DOE’s rezoning proposal covered an area that stretches from Central Park North to West 124th Street and from Morningside Avenue east to Fifth Avenue and includes P.S 241, P.S. 76, P.S. 180, P.S. 242, P.S. 149, P.S. 208, and P.S. 185. The Harlem rezoning map was released in November, while debate continued to rage over a controversial larger rezoning of the southern portion of the district. That plan was recently approved by CEC3 after well over a year of debate.

The proposal for the northern portion of District 3 aimed to merge P.S. 241 at 240 West 113th Street with P.S. 76 at 220 West 121st Street and would have the closed school’s zone swallowed up by neighboring zones for P.S. 76, P.S. 180 at 370 West 120th Street, and the combined P.S. 185 at 20 West 112th Street and P.S. 208 at 21 West 111th Street. According to the DOE, the rationale behind the merger included budgetary and programmatic challenges due to low enrollment at P.S. 241.

Compared to the southern rezoning, which sparked protracted debate and repeated revisions over many public meetings going back more than a year, the proposal for the district’s northern portion was expected to move quickly, with a CEC3 vote scheduled for December 14, just a month after its introduction. But at the first public hearing for the rezoning on December 8, parents and CEC3 members alike commented on the need for more time for review and discussion.

Following the DOE’s withdrawal on Monday, the CEC3 will now put off its December 14 vote but — as Manhattan Express was going to press — still planned a public hearing on the rezoning. According to CEC3, previously scheduled joint DOE and CEC3 public hearings on January 9 and 11 have also been cancelled, and the rezoning will no longer be on the agenda of the DOE’s Panel for Educational Policy meeting on January 18. That meeting, however, will include a discussion and vote on the relocation of P.S. 452, now at 100 West 77th Street, to the 210 West 61st Street school building being vacated by P.S. 191, which is moving to a new building at Riverside Center. Those changes were part of the district’s southern rezoning.