By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
For years, educators and parents in School District 20 (Bay Ridge-Dyker Heights-Bensonhurst) have been lamenting the fact that children have to sit in crowded classrooms due to the high enrollments in many of the schools. Buildings that were meant to accommodate 2,500 students have had to squeeze hundreds more into their classrooms in recent years as young families have moved into these communities and have sent their children to local schools.
But that picture is starting to change, according to Laurie Windsor, president of the Community Education Council of School District 20, who said the New York City School Construction Authority listened to the council’s pleas and built new schools in the area. “And our elected officials pushed for us to get funding for new schools,” she said.
Those efforts are starting to bear fruit, Windsor said. In September, P.S. 264, a new elementary school dedicated to the arts, opened its doors on Fourth Avenue and 89th Street in Bay Ridge. Next September, P.S/I.S 30, an elementary-intermediate school, will open on the corner of Fourth and Ovington Avenues.
In addition, the School Construction Authority has also built additions to existing schools in several parts of the district so that those buildings can accommodate more students. P.S. 163, on Benson and 17th Avenues, P.S. 229, at Benson and 14th Avenues, and New Utrecht High School, on 16th Avenue and 80th Street, have all been expanded under this plan. The New Utrecht expansion included the construction of a new gymnasium and a new student cafeteria.
The opening of a new school means the community education council has to rezone surrounding schools to create a student base for the new building. “Basically, you’re making a zone for the new school,” Winsdor said. “How to you make a zone? You have to take a little from each of the surrounding schools.”
To prepare for the opening of P.S./I.S. 30, the community education council voted unanimously on Nov. 5 to rezone five schools in the southwest portion of Bay Ridge. The vote took place at a council meeting. “We had to do two separate rezoning plans; one for the elementary portion of the new school and one for the middle school level,” Windsor said.
The impacted elementary schools are: P.S. 170, P.S. 69, P.S. 105, P.S. 127, and P.S. 176.
Under the council’s plan, the addresses contained in the following area would be in the new P.S. 30 zone:
- Begin at Third Avenue between Shore Road and 65th Street, then
- East along 66th Street to Sixth Avenue, then
- South on Sixth Avenue to Ovington Avenue, then
- West on Ovington Avenue to Fifth Avenue, then
- South on Fifth Avenue to Bay Ridge Parkway, then
- West on 74th Street to Fourth Avenue, then
- North on Fourth Avenue to 67th Street, then
- West on 67th Street to Third Avenue, then
- North on Third Avenue to between Shore Road and 65th Street (the point of origin).
At the same meeting, the council voted to rezone William McKinley Intermediate School, located on Fort Hamilton Parkway and 73rd Street, to create a zone for I.S. 30.
The goal is to align the elementary and middle school zones of P.S./I.S. 30 to allow families to be zoned to the same school throughout elementary and middle school, Windsor said.
The proposed rezoning plan was submitted to the New York City Department of Education for final approval.