District 13 CEC Votes 6 to 3 in Favor of P.S.8/P.S. 307 Re-Zoning

After months of meetings, public discourse and national news coverage, the District 13 CEC has voted in favor of the re-zoning in a 6 to 3 split.   The Fort Greene-Clinton Hill Patch live blogged the proceedings.

The CEC first held a Working Session where they attended to other district business including the Superintendent’s Report.  The “special” Calendar Meeting then began at 8:30 (after a brief period of painfully bureaucratic debate over how and when to begin public comment) and opened with statements from elected officials or their representatives.  Councilmember Steve Levin expressed his support for the plan in a NY Daily News article and with brief remarks.  State Senator Daniel Squadron supported the rezoning.  “The proposal on the table will not solve many of the problems we are most concerned about…But, it will offer more predictability this year for the entire community for current prospective parents at P.S. 8 and P.S. 307.  And for that reason, I really do hope that the re-zoning is passed tonight.”

Several members of the Farragut community spoke out in opposition to the re-zoning echoing the previously-voiced concerns that access to hard-won programs at P.S. 307 would be taken away should the proposal pass.  P.S. 307 PTA Co-President, Faraji Hannah-Jones expressed extreme disappointment in the DOE for not meeting the terms a neighborhood coalition’s action plan for P.S. 307, including an additional five years of funding for the Magnet grant stating, “We feel disrespected.”  Executive Director of the DUMBO Neighborhood Alliance, Doreen Gallo spoke on behalf of several DUMBO parents in attendance and read a statement in opposition to the plan citing, in part the DOE’s failure to properly engage the DUMBO community for small group feedback meetings promised when the vote was delayed in October.

For the next hour, the nine members of the CEC took individual turns addressing the audience which grew more antsy with each passing minute.  CEC President, David Goldsmith who has supported the rezoning from the beginning encouraged, “We’re ready to do this.  The time is now.  We owe this to our children.  Let’s move forward.”  By far, one of the most poignant moments of the evening came from Ed Brown-who voted ‘yes’-when he reflected, “The other elephant in the room, it’s not just race.  It’s fear…Because fear has no color.  It operates on both sides.”  He continued by drawing a comparison of parents from the effected communities to deer in headlights.    “What has happened on both sides…adults…have frozen their minds.  They have their mind made up already.  They’ve decided what they want…In freezing, the kids are suffering.”

The vote finally came at 10:30 pm and took exactly sixty seconds.


  • The new zone lines shift the Dumbo and Vinegar Hill neighborhoods to the P.S. 307 zone and returns three buildings at Farragut Houses back to P.S. 307 zone.
  • Siblings are grandfathered in.  Meaning, if you live in Dumbo or Vinegar Hill and you currently have a child attending P.S. 8, their sibling will receive admissions priority at P.S. 8 over new students within the zone who do not have siblings.  In short, your children will be able to attend school together.
  • The new zoning is effective for the 2016-2017 school year.
  • Kindergarten admissions remains open until January 15th.  Parents may rank up to twelve schools on their application.  Children have the highest priority at their zoned school.  The Kindergarten Directory lists the admissions priorities for each school.

Throughout the evening electeds and CEC members encouraged the respective communities to remain engaged with the DOE, CEC and their school leadership so that the larger issues raised by the debate could be addressed collectively.  Just prior to the vote, Rob Underwood laid out via his Tumblr blog what he feels are the most pressing challenges facing District 13.  What are your thoughts on how the two school communities can move forward from here? What issues are most important to you for your child’s education?  Comment away!

P.S. 8 Principal, Seth Phillips an P.S. 307 Principal Stephanie Carroll

P.S. 8 Principal, Seth Phillips an P.S. 307 Principal Stephanie Carroll



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  • Concerned

    This was the right choice from the beginning. I’m glad the CEC had the strength to do the right thing. P.S. 307 should end up being a much better school for ALL the children and families. And P.S. 8 should get the relief it needs from overcrowding.

  • Jen

    I’m happy the re-zoning passed, more happy that Seth and Stephanie understand the situation and are working together. This quote said it all – “We have to approach the elephant in the room,” said Vascilla Caldeira, who voted in favor of the proposal. “Everybody says ‘oh, it’s not about segregation.’ It is. Segregation of race, segregation of class, segregation of learning.”

  • District 13 parent

    So glad this passed and the school communities can move ahead. It’s not perfect, but then nothing is. I hope the PS 307 community will find that the changes are beneficial for children and families there now as well as for the newcomers from DUMBO and the rezoned Farragut houses.

  • Quinn Raymond

    I’m glad they worked out a reasonable solution to this issue.

  • elpachuco

    Very brave vote from Ed Brown. He deserves a lot of credit for seeing past the manufactured opposition and voting on the merits.

    I hope DUMBO parents aren’t deterred from considering 307 by the misguided comments of a minority of Farragut residents who claimed that the school “belongs” to public housing residents. Most 307 parents — and certainly the school’s leadership — have their heads in the right place and are committed to building an excellent institution that serves the entire community.

  • Lady in the Heights

    As a former PS 8 parent who was at the school 11 years ago when Seth Philips was new and the school was half full, this has been interesting to watch. The conversation about race, socioeconomic status and diversity was the same then. PS8 was 6% white, the test scores were low and Brooklyn Heights was afraid of the school. We brave pioneers (as my private school parent friends called us) all got involved. The school improved and we became victims of our success because the crowds came.

    This was the right decision.

  • Concerned

    I really thank you and every other parent/faculty member that made PS 8 a better place.

  • Banet

    So glad that most of them saw that this was the only reasonable choice. I am curious though as to who the holdouts were and what they think the right answer would be.

    I also would like to know what the school system as a whole thinks the answer will be when this zone has a lengthy waiting list again in three years.

    Just imagine how many new students there will be if a building goes up on pineapple walk. And above the library. As well as the several new buildings already going up on Montague. Not to mention the massive witness building by the dog run. And Pierhouse. And Pier 6. And the Brooklyn Law school dorm across from the Pierrepont playground.

  • AbeLincoln

    Agreed. It’s unfortunate that the people who are committed to building 307 into a great school weren’t heard.