2005-06-17 / Community

Parents: PS 225 To Be Rezoned For RB Cashin: Not True, Only Reorganization

By Howard Schwach

Controversy continues to swirl around Public School 225 in the wake of the school’s reorganization by the New York City Department of Education.

As part of that reorganization, at least half of the present staff will be reassigned to other schools and new teachers will be brought to the school in their place. This has angered a number of parents who believe that experienced teachers are being sacrificed and inexperienced teachers are being brought in only in the name of change.

In addition, both parents and staff, some of whom will be reassigned, have told The Wave that the school will be rezoned as well as reorganized, a charge that is denied by Region Five officials.

“We have been told that the school will now take new students from a zone that runs from Beach 95 Street to Beach 121 Street,” a parent, who asked to remain anonymous because her child remains in the school, said. “The children from Ocean Village will now have their community schools, PS 42, PS 183 and PS 105 to choose from.”

The zone for PS 114 in Belle Harbor begins on Beach 122 Street and continues west to the tip of the peninsula. Homes on the west side of Beach 122 Street often sell for more than homes on the east side of the street because of the school zone, according to local real estate brokers.

For many years, school experts say, there was a deal in effect that allowed the students who live in Ocean Village at Beach 57 Street to bypass their home schools in order to attend PS 225 because there were few minority students in the original zone for that school when it first opened more than 20 years ago. At the time, one of the major goals of the then Board of Education was to reduce “minority isolation,” the school expert said.

Two years ago, the outgoing Community School Board voted to change the zone to make PS 225 a community school for the Rockaway Beach community, but the board was disbanded without action being taken by the city.

Kathleen Cashin, the Region Five Superintendent issued a statement through the DOE’s press office, however, that the school is not being rezoned, just reorganized. The DOE declined to comment further on any changes.

Some of the parents who came to The Wave questioned the school’s reorganization at the same time the school was being rezoned.

“If the school was rezoned years ago, there would be no reason for reorganization now,” one angry parent said.

“The idea of getting rid of half of the teachers and bringing in completely inexperienced teachers is ridiculous,” the parent added. “There are teachers at the school – good teachers – who have been there for 20 years and they are being sent elsewhere. In their place, we are going to get teachers who will probably last less than two years. What kind of deal is that for the parents and the kids?”

“I asked for a No Child Left Behind transfer because of the discipline in the school,” said a second parent who came to The Wave recently. “They offered me a school in Staten Island. The only good thing about the school was the teachers and now they are all gone.” “They want kids to go to school and then remove all of the teachers that comforted them, that kept them going to school,” the kindergarten parent added.

One teacher who has served both the school and the community for years and was asked to leave said that teachers still had no idea of where they would be next year, despite the fact that there are less than ten days left in this school year. “We are political pawns,” the teacher said. “This has nothing to do with competency. It has everything to do with politics.”

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