By Joe Anuta
District 24 Community Education Council voted Tuesday to shift the zone boundaries of six Glendale schools for the coming school year to alleviate overcrowding and create a new elementary school in the process.
The city Department of Education proposed the shift at a previous meeting Jan. 18. Now that it is a reality, IS 119 will be expanded to house kindergarten through eighth grade. The extra seats will accommodate some of the future elementary-aged children who would otherwise crowd into nearby classrooms.
“We needed to create a new elementary zone for 119, so we could make sure they had a stable source of enrollment,” said Jack Zarin-Rosenfeld, a spokesman for the DOE. “It’s all about overcrowding and expansion.”
PS/IS 119’s new boundary will be carved out of a space currently occupied by PS 91, which will have fewer students as a result.
But to spread the space equally, that school will take on some of the area previously zoned for neighboring schools. Like a domino effect, then those schools will take on students from other areas.
The idea is to strike a balance whereby each school has the optimum number of students. The process is called “step zoning,” according to Nick Comaianni, president of Community Education Council 24.
“If you want to relieve overcrowding that is three schools away, you take a little bit from each zone,” he said.
In this case, PS 81 and PS 239 are particularly overcrowded.
The schools involved in the shake-up are: PS 68, PS 71, PS 81/PS 305, PS 88, PS 91 and PS 239.
In addition to a map, the department released preliminary predictions about how the new boundaries will affect incoming kindergarten class sizes in 2011 compared to 2010 in the area.
The class sizes in some schools like PS 81/PS 305 will be reduced by nearly 40 students, according to the DOE’s preliminary proposal. Others like PS 239 will decrease by about 15. Some class sizes will stay the same, but others such as PS 88 and PS 91ï»¿ will actually gain students.
Some things about the schools will not change, however.
The shifted boundaries will only apply to new students beginning next year. Also, if a new student has an older sibling in a certain school, then the siblings will be able to attend the same school, according to Comaianni.
PS/IS 119’s elementary portion will be gradually phased in, starting with a kindergarten class next year. As that class moves upward, new classes will come in behind it one year at a time.
Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 718-260-4566.