Parents at Park Slope’s most-coveted public elementary school say the city should remap the school’s zone to reduce crowding in their children’s classrooms.
PS 321 on Seventh Avenue is at 114 percent capacity, according to the city, thanks to the growing number of young families who have moved to Park Slope — and sooner or later, the Department of Education will have to send children elsewhere.
And, naturally, it’s the talk of the neighborhood.
“It’s obvious [that the crowding won’t stop soon] because there are so many big buildings going up,” said Alana Fishberg, who moved to Park Slope three years ago, and has one child in PS 321 and a younger one starting kindergarten in September.
Like other parents, she said that being able to send her children to 321 was a big reason she bought her home in the neighborhood.
But a decreased catchment area for the school would ignite a battle with parents who moved into the school’s zone, yet whose kids aren’t old enough to attend yet. And empty-nesters who suddenly found themselves outside the PS 321 zone would be enraged, because property values are known to be higher in the zone.
The Department of Education says it has no immediate plans to redraw the school boundaries in District 15, which includes PS 321, though agency spokesman Andrew Jacobs told The Brooklyn Paper that the city is looking at all options to reduce crowding. These measures include cutting back on variances that allow out-of-district parents to send their kids to popular schools like PS 321.
Currently, children who live in the area approximately bounded by Third Avenue, Prospect Park West, and Fifth and Union streets can attend PS 321, a K-5 school.
But a member of the local school board, now called the Community Education Council, said the city should not rule out tinkering with the map, no matter how unpalatable it would be for people whose home values are intricately bound to the school’s gleaming reputation.
“I would be hung in effigy and/or drawn and quartered by the population of Park Slope for considering this,” the board member, James Devor, told the New York Sun. “But I think it’s something that has to be considered.”