DOE to rezone overcrowded P.S. 8 in Brooklyn Heights, DUMBO
Because of overcrowding that threatens to get worse, the New York City Department of Education (DOE) plans to redraw the zoning map for P.S. 8 in Brooklyn Heights and DUMBO.
According to the District 13 Community Education Council (CEC), DOE will be offering a set of “proposed scenarios” during the week of Aug. 31, in time for the CEC’s Sept. 1 working session.
Update: DOE will present a preliminary rezoning map on Tuesday, Sept. 1 at 6:30 p.m. at the district office at 355 Park Place at Underhill Ave. in Prospect Heights.
The CEC is urging parents to provide input on the alternatives before it votes on the proposal in the fall.
The rezoning will be implemented before the 2016-17 kindergarten application period this winter.
P.S. 8 serves the rapidly growing neighborhoods of Brooklyn Heights, parts of Downtown Brooklyn, DUMBO, Vinegar Hill and the Navy Yard area.
DOE’s plan will shrink the P.S. 8 zone in Brooklyn Heights and DUMBO, increasing the number of area children sent to P.S. 307, located in Vinegar Hill, and possibly to P.S. 287, adjacent to the Brooklyn Navy Yard. But exactly where the lines on the map will be drawn has not yet been set.
P.S. 8 is operating at 142 percent capacity and numerous developments are bringing explosive growth to its zone.
According to the P.S. 8 Parents & Teachers Association (PTA), working with the group Downtown Brooklyn School Solutions, roughly 3,750 new housing units in the school’s zone are already in the pipeline, with completion expected by 2017. (Another 1,750 units have not yet been incorporated into the PTA’s accounting.)
Parents and officials have been warning of a capacity crisis at P.S. 8 for years. Councilmember Stephen Levin is spearheading the Downtown Brooklyn School Planning Working Group, which hopes to work with the CEC to submit a counter-proposal to the DOE plan. The group is also studying ways to build more schools and increase capacity at current schools.
P.S. 8 shut down its pre-K program in 2014 to make more room for other grades. DOE also decided to cut 25 kindergarten seats this year.
Last spring, DOE notified 50 families in P.S. 8’s zone that there was no room for their children in P.S. 8’s kindergarten. Some of these have since been admitted as other children have dropped out, while others have sought space elsewhere.
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