By Joe Anuta
Parents are forging documents to get their children into a sought-after but swelling Glendale school, and the practice could edge out longtime residents who actually live in the district, a principal said to a tense meeting last week.
“It’s absolutely true, and it’s true because of the Chancellor’s Regulations,” Anthony Pranzo, principal of PS 113, said at the meeting.
The school is popular due to its dedicated staff and high calibre of education, but it is so popular it also attracts students who do not live in the district, a number of distraught parents said.
“I can pick out 15 faces right now whose children do not belong here,” said Jennifer Bonowitz, who attended last Thursday’s meeting because she hopes to send her young children to the school, at 78-23 87th St.
A set of city Department of Education rules called the Chancellor’s Regulations requires that parents must prove they live in a certain district if their children want to attend a locally zoned school.
But those regulations are far too lax, Pranzo said.
All a parent has to do is provide a notarized letter from a landlord saying the child lives in the school district, and that school is required to admit the student. Some families who live outside of the district also use the addresses of kin to get their children on the register, other parents said.
Once Pranzo sent out an attendance officer to check up on a student whose parents he suspected of using a false address. Instead of being commended by the DOE, he was rebuked when the city found out, he said.
“Until someone rises up and says the Chancellor’s Regulations need to be made real, it’s going to happen again and again,” he said.
The DOE could not be reached for comment by press time.
The problem could mean families who actually live in the district would have to go somewhere else.
The DOE Division of Portfolio Planning held the meeting with Community Education Council District 24 to get feedback from parents about a possible rezoning plan.
Although this year the school can still handle all the students who registered, in the future it could become overcrowded.
The plan, which is not even being considered this year, would take a few blocks between 80th and 84th streets that are currently zoned for PS 113 and rezone them for PS/IS 119, at 74-01 78th Ave., which the DOE said is underused.
Bonowitz lives on 83rd Street. If the DOE and Community Education Council District 24 ever decide to consider the rezoning plan, she might be forced to change schools.
“I don’t think it’s fair that people who live inside the district lines where they belong would have to suffer because some people know how to work the system and some people don’t,” she said.
Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.