PS 114 ‘Not In The Rezoning Plan’
By Howard Schwach
Despite a number of plans that would have changed the attendance zone of PS 114 on Beach 135 Street, the president of the school board told The Wave that "the rezoning of PS 114 is not going to be included in the rezoning plan."
"The proposals were never taken very seriously by the board," school board president Steve Greenberg said earlier this week. "Why would we add seven blocks of students to a school that is already overcrowded?"
"If I were a betting man," he concluded, "I would put my money that there will be no change in that school’s zone. That is a 99.9999999 percent certainty."
There were a number of proposals made at recent meetings that were designed to elicit community input into the rezoning of the entire Rockaway peninsula. That rezoning was necessitated by the construction of a new elementary school in Far Rockaway and the massive increase in new homebuilding activity throughout the community.
The next meeting on rezoning will be held at MS 180 (Beach 102 Street) on Monday, January 13 at 7 p.m. The final plan will be unveiled at a February meeting.
Several proposals have been made by residents and community activists that would impact on the PS 114 zone.
One of those proposals, one that has been made several times in the past ten years, would move the zone eastward, from its present terminus on the west side of Beach 122 Street to Beach 116 Street. Many of those who favor the plan say that the shopping street is a natural border for the school zone.
Those who oppose the plan say that PS 225 (on Beach 110 Street) is only six blocks from Beach 116 Street, while PS 114 is 19 blocks from that street, making PS 225 the natural "neighborhood school" for students who live in that area. They also argue that the plan is being put forth more for property values than for education.
"A home in the PS 114 zone is worth about $75 thousand more than a similar home in the PS 225 zone," a real estate broker told The Wave. "That is the reason people want to rezone the school. That, and the fact that everybody wants their kids to go there."
Another plan would move the zone west, to Beach 129 Street from Beach 122 Street. That would reduce the number of students in the school and would move many of the students from Breezy Point to PS 225 instead.
"Neither of these plans will be in the final mix," Greenberg says.
"That is", he says, "they are not on the drawing board right now."
"When our board is done away with in June, then all bets are off," Greenberg says. "The task force on school governance will soon come up with a plan to replace the boards. Whatever group they set up will have the potential to do anything they want in regard to zoning the schools."
"The community will probably no longer have a say one way or the other," he added.