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Dear Neighbors,

As many of you know, the district is undergoing an extensive school re-zoning discussion.  After many years of discussions and targeted focus over the last two years, the School District 3 Community Education Council (CEC3) is now nearing a vote on a final plan. The CEC3 is made up of public school parent volunteers that are elected every two years by the public school parent population of the entire school district. They are your neighbors and fellow public school parents.

CEC3 members have worked closely with each of the district’s schools, their leadership teams, their parent bodies, and community members. They have held hours and hours of meetings to openly discuss, gather ideas, analyze information and hear community comments on draft proposals.

I have rarely met a more dedicated, thoughtful and respectful group of citizens and I am enormously grateful for the time and effort they have put into this re-zoning process and its outcomes. They are deeply invested in our schools and I cannot imagine a better group of representatives for our school district community.  

I want to extend my appreciation to the CEC3 as a Council and to each individual member who has taken time from their families and their work to serve their community. Regardless of the final plan that the CEC3 votes to approve, their process to date has been indisputable and I will respect their final decision.

The CEC3 has now released their zoning recommendations based on years of work around this effort. I fully support the plan presented by the CEC3 and their reasoning behind each point of the plan that affects schools in my council district (96th street and below).   I will defer for now on specific points affecting schools north of my council district but do generally support their proposals.

You can learn more about the CEC3 here along with a list of upcoming meeting and hearing dates.

The plan boldly addresses issues that I believe are critical to a successful re-zoning plan and the long term health of public education and quality of life for families in our district. It:  
  • Meaningfully affirms the importance of diversity in our district schools
  • Allows our schools to reduce or grow enrollment as needed and address long term issues around overcrowding
  • Supports the most educationally sound model for each school to ensure long term success.
The plan gives strong rationale for each point as reflected by the CEC3 questions and discussions at numerous meetings. My staff and I have been thoroughly engaged in this school rezoning. I have spent many hours attending CEC meetings and hearings, speaking with and listening to residents, school leaders, and parents. I have received hundreds of comments on various aspects of the re-zone plans: from re-siting proposals for some schools, to the change in zone lines for certain blocks, buildings, and schools. I have read through every comment received and considered all points of view carefully.

I deeply respect everyone’s point of view and respect the time and dedication of all parents who attend these meetings and who have taken the time to meet with me. I know that parents involved in these discussions are advocating for what is best for their child. Their comments are sincere and heartfelt. 

I believe my job is to advocate for what will be the best long term educational outcome for my entire district. The CEC3 plan proposed does that. 

It allows for the creation of three strong integrated schools in the southern portion of the district, it addresses future crowding concerns at PS 87, and gives flexibility for planning ahead by creating space at the O’Shea Complex. It requires support for current PS 452 families' transportation concerns. It addresses concerns heard from PS 9, PS 166 and PS 75 school communities and it demands attention be paid to enrollment issues in the northern part of the district.

A major priority for me is to see a commitment to greater diversity and the lessening of segregation in all of our local schools. This is a hallmark value of our UWS and I would support nothing less. We know that integrated schools are best for all children with study after study proving that to be the case and test scores rising for everyone.

Integrating our schools is also a solid path to support and grow the middle class in our neighborhoods. No matter what building you live in, you should feel welcome and good about the education in your locally zoned school. The DOE owes us that and I commit to holding their feet to the fire. But, as it stands now, those who can afford higher real estate prices pack into just a few schools. That is not the way to keep families on the UWS. We cannot price-out the middle-class and we must support lower income families with the ladder education provides.

The CEC3 plan has taken elements presented by the DOE with its various draft proposals and thoughtfully weaved them into a comprehensive and doable plan. I look forward to hearing the DOE response.

A commitment to our district schools is my top priority and, after a re-zone vote is taken, regardless of what that is, the work will continue to ensure a smooth transition and the long term success of all our schools and for our children.

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