RICH KIDS GETTING ZONED OUT
RICH KIDS GETTING ZONED OUT PARENTS RIP SCHOOL SWITCH
Posted: 3:41 am
November 19, 2008
They're movin' on down.
Parents who bought million-dollar Upper West Side condos solely to secure their kids spots at a prized public elementary school have been told their children soon will be shipped off to a struggling school nearby.
Owners at two buildings in particular - the Avery, at 100 Riverside Blvd., and 120 Riverside, at Trump Place, where a two-bedroom unit runs close to $2 million - said they've been pushed to the wrong side of the dividing line between highly rated PS 199 and subpar PS 191.
That line is expected to be approved tonight by Manhattan's District 3 Community Education Council in a measure that redraws a number of school zoning boundaries, which determine what addresses get first dibs at what schools.
"This is ridiculous. This is unfair," said Lisa Booker, 40, who moved into the Avery building with her husband and two young kids in April. "We made the investment, and we believed we were going to a very good public school - and everything's changed."
The zoning changes - which affect a total of seven Upper West Side schools beginning in the 2010 school year - have been under review by the Department of Education and CEC for months as part of a bid to drain overcrowded schools and fill seats at empty ones.
But parents complained that the move was akin to changing the rules of the game after it had already started.
This past school year, more than 90 percent of kids at PS 199 scored proficiently on pivotal state reading and math tests.
At PS 191, by comparison, just 52 percent of kids met state standards in reading and 70 percent met the standards in math.
"You cannot put a price on a good school," said Kenneth Kuo, 34, president of the Connecticut School of Music and a resident at Avery Riverside. "If we did not have [PS] 199, I think this isn't a place my wife and I would consider being in for a long time."
Members of the CEC said they did everything in their powers to keep the rezoning equitable, but that physical limitations forced them to re-jigger the map.
"It's very painful for me to hear from any of the individuals who find themselves on the other side of the line, but the line has to fall somewhere," said Jennifer Freeman, a member of the council.
But if their kids are indeed bounced from good schools, parents like Rich Forman - whose 2-year-old son, Sean, was slated to attend PS 199 - said they'd draw a line of their own.
"We'll probably move to Westchester," he said.
Additional reporting by Kelly Magee