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“Yes” to District 20 rezoning

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A controversial plan to rezone several District 20 schools got the A-OK.

District 20’s Community Education Council (CEC) unanimously approved the zoning changes, which were proposed by the city Department of Education (DOE).

P.S. 69’s principal, Jaynemarie Capetanakis, has said the reconfigured zoning lines would decrease the number of Hispanic and Arabic students at her school. After the CEC’s vote, she declined to comment but stated, “I’m still concerned.”

“We’ve heard the concerns. We’ve taken them under advisement,” said CEC First Vice President Mark Bramante.

However, Bramante said the need to alleviate overcrowding at local schools took precedence.

“District 20 is outrageously overcrowded,” he said.

DOE officials say the new zoning lines would redirect students to two new schools, thereby alleviating overcrowding at existing schools in District 20, which spans Bay Ridge, Fort Hamilton, Borough Park and part of Bensonhurst.

The changes would affect P.S./I.S. 104 at 9115 Fifth Avenue, P.S. 185 at 8601 Ridge Boulevard, P.S. 503 at 330 59th Street, P.S. 506 at 330 59th Street, P.S. 69 at 6302 Ninth Avenue, P.S. 105 at 1031 59th Street, and P.S./I.S. 180 at 5601 16th Avenue. The new schools yet to open are P.S. 971, which is under construction at 62nd Street and 4th Avenue, and P.S. 264 to be built at Fourth Avenue and 88th Street.

At the CEC meeting, held at P.S./I.S. 104, some parents worried about the placement of a new school building on Fourth Avenue. Sean Park said the street is a busy public bus route, which would pose a safety hazard to schoolchildren.

“The number of buses has nearly doubled. Traffic is incredible,” he said.

Bramante acknowledged that the site is not a perfect school location, but explained that the city has struggled to find space for new buildings in District 20.

“When land becomes available, we have to be somewhat accepting of the fact that it may not be optimal space. But it is space,” Bramante said.

The DOE is now expected to approve the rezoning, as the agency proposed the changes.

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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