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No Resolution to Zoning Woes – QNS.com

No Resolution to Zoning Woes

Overcrowding Risks M.V. School’s K Class

Parents began their kindergarten-age children for the 2012-13 school year at public schools across the city on Monday, Jan. 9, but the enrollment period began with trepidation for many who wish for their children to attend P.S./I.S. 49 in Middle Village.

The school has been at the center of a controversy over whether to realign the boundaries of its school zone to help ease overcrowding, but rezoning put forth by the Department of Education’s Division of Portfolio Planning were defeated by District 24’s Community Education Council (CEC 24) late last year.

Depending on the number of children enrolled by their parents in P.S./I.S. 49’s new kindergarten class for September, there may be more students than available seats.

If that were the case, as previously reported, students who have siblings at the school no higher than fifth grade would be given first priority; the remaining seats would then be filled through a random selection of all other zoned applicants conducted by the DOE. Students who aren’t selected to attend P.S./I.S. 49 may be assigned to other schools in the district.

“We’ll have to see where it will roll at this point, how many kids register, and we’ll take it from there,” said CEC 24 President Nick Comaianni, who told the Times Newsweekly in a phone interview on Monday that the process will move forward as indicated in the Chancellor’s regulations.

“I’m sure soon we’ll hear quite a bit about it as the registration happens,” he added.

Responding to concerns from parents about overcrowding at P.S./I.S. 49, the Division of Portfolio Planning developed and proposed two rezoning plans last year to realign the Middle Village school’s zone and assign more students to neighboring schools including P.S./I.S. 87 in Middle Village and P.S. 58 in Maspeth.

Claiming that the numbers didn’t add up, CEC 24 rejected the plan first

SEE K SEATS ON PG. 32- proposed by the Division of Portfolio Planning in October 2011. The division’s revised plan was also rejected by the council at their December session. Under law, Comaianni noted, any school rezoning plan must be approved by the community education council in order to take effect.

“They can’t go forward until we approve it,” he said, but pointed out that the DOE rejected CEC 24’s own input regarding what the new boundaries of P.S./I.S. 49’s zone should look like. “In this particular case, we had the right zone, and they didn’t. But they didn’t want to budge.”

“Even though we are legally bound to vote [on a rezoning plan], we can’t come up with our own zoning and propose it to ourselves,” Comaianni noted.

The council president hopes that the overcrowding problem will abate on its own once students who do not live in P.S./I.S. 49’s zone-but attend on variances provided by the DOE under the No Child Left Behind Act-graduate from the school.

“Basically, they have about 200 kids in the school that are there on variances,” he said. “When those 200 kids start graduating out, then we’ll have enough room for any other kids coming in. … But if [the classes] fill up, we’ve got to come up with different ways.”

“I don’t want to send [students who aren’t selected to attend P.S./I.S. 49] all over the district; I’d rather send them to one particular location,” Comaianni added.

Parents of P.S./I.S. 49 students claimed at previous CEC 24 meetings that many out-of-zone students who attend the school are enrolled based on fraudulent applications submitted to the school by their parents of legal guardians. They called upon the DOE to launch a thorough investigation to combat admissions fraud where it exists.

The kindergarten admissions period continues citywide through Mar. 2. According to a DOE press release, “families should apply in person” at the school in which they are zoned to attend. They may also apply at other schools in which their children may be eligible to attend based on other circumstances.

“Schools will notify families about assignment offers beginning on Mar. 19,” the press release indicated. “To accept an offer, families must visit the school that made the offer with thir children between Mar. 26 and Apr. 20 to pre-register.”

Students who will be enrolled in the new kindergarten classes this September must be New York City residents who were born in 2007. To apply at a school, all parents must provide the following documents:

– two proofs of residence indicating the resident’s name and address, such as a residential gas or electric bill issued within the last 60 days; documents or a letter from a government agency sent within the last 60 days; an original lease agreement, deed or mortgage statement for the residence; a current property tax bill for the residence; a water bill for the residence dated within the last 60 days; or official payroll documentation issued within the last 60 days;

– the child’s birth certificate or passport; and

– names of any siblings who will be enrolled in grades one through five at the school in September.

For more information, visit www.nyc.gov/schools or call 311.

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