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BY ALBERT AMATEAU | Responding to opposition by many Greenwich Village parents and the District 2 Community Education Council, the Department of Education last week cancelled its decision to split the P.S. 3 and P.S. 41 elementary school zone.
The education department proposed early in November to split the zone now shared by the two schools in order to relieve overcrowding, especially in P.S. 41, the Greenwich Village School, on W. 11th St. at Sixth Ave.
But many parents, especially at P.S. 3, the Charrette School, at 290 Hudson St., were opposed. They feared the split zone would force parents who were not committed to P.S. 3’s original open philosophy to send their children there and would eventually change the school’s culture.
Moreover, many parents in the shared zone felt that chronic overcrowding at both schools and the opening of a new school on W. 17th St. would require yet another rezoning in three years.
The education department revised the zoning map for P.S. 3 and P.S. 41, but the district Community Education Council voted on Nov. 16 against the split zoning.
“Parents were looking for a better solution,” said Michael Markowitz, a District 2 C.E.C. member.
The education councils, whose members are elected by parents in district schools, have very limited powers. But school zoning is their most important power.
At a Mon., Nov. 28, district zoning forum at P.S. 130 on Baxter St., P.S. 41 Principal Kelly Shannon and P.S. 3 Principal Lisa Siegman acknowledged that overcrowding remains a problem.
Three years ago, P.S. 41 took in seven kindergarten classes and the overcrowding continues, Shannon said. She added that there are still parents in the school who want a P.S. 41 zone separate from P.S. 3.
Parents whose kindergarten-age children are on a waiting list for P.S. 41 have a long wait before the education department assigns them an alternative school, Shannon added.
Siegman urged Deputy Schools Chancellors Kathleen Grimm and Marc Sternberg, who attended the zoning forum, to re-examine the way they assign children to alternate schools.
On Wed., Dec. 14, the district 2 C.E.C. will meet at the O. Henry School, 333 W. 17th St., in Chelsea to vote on revised zoning for Lower Manhattan and the Upper East Side schools. But zoning for Greenwich Village and Chelsea schools will remain as they are.
Zoning for the Village and Chelsea will be contingent on the expected opening of a 564-seat elementary school in the New York Foundling Hospital building on W. 17th St. in 2014.
A district 2 open forum with Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott is scheduled for Wed., Dec. 7, at the Bayard Rustin School, 351 W. 18th St.