Stuff You Should Know: How NYC School Zones and Districts Work

Posted On Thu, April 28, 2016 By

Posted On Thu, April 28, 2016 By In City Living, Features, Policy, stuff you should know

Photo by Mary Frost of the Brooklyn Eagle

It’s a longstanding New York City tradition—families relocating to live in a desirable school district or zone. Currently, all five of the city’s boroughs are divided into districts and zones and both come with their own currency. Districts, which usually cover large swaths of a borough, impact students’ middle school and in some cases, high school choices. Zones, by contrast, can run just a few blocks and are usually the sole criteria for assigning students to schools at the elementary level. Like many things in New York City, however, a block can make a world of difference.

In some neighborhoods, such as the Upper East Side, scoring an address on one side of the street will put your child into one of the city’s the most desirable school zones and districts. An address on the opposite side of the street will leave you with limited public school choices in a zone and district that is home to some of the city’s most poorly performing schools. For parents looking to buy or rent and for real estate agents and brokers, it is important to understand the school zone and district map and how school choice is impacted by these boundaries.

nyc school districts

HOW IT WORKS

Clara Hemphill is the editor of Inside Schools—a website hosted by the Center for New York City Affairs—which provides detailed statistics and reviews on every public school in the city. As Hemphill explains, “In New York, there are 32 school districts and about 750 school attendance zones, and certainly, school attendance zones are an important consideration for parents choosing an apartment.” Hemphill adds, “School enrollment has boomed in the past 10 years in school districts that are considered desirable, like District 2 in Manhattan and District 15 in Brooklyn, and declined in districts that are considered undesirable, like District 5 in Harlem and District 16 in Brooklyn.” Not surprisingly, this trend is not without its problems.

A recent study by the Center for New York City Affairs reports that schools are often even less diverse than the neighborhoods in which they are located. “In East Harlem, Central HarlemFort Greene and Bedford Stuyvesant, the schools are more segregated than the neighborhoods,” says Hemphill, “That is, middle class parents are voting with their feet and refusing to send their children to the neighborhood school.” Where are they going? In most cases, parents with the means to do so are finding ways to send their kids to either public gifted schools, charter schools or private schools. In some cases, they are also going shopping for schools outside their zone or district, since spots do occasionally open up, even in highly desirable schools.

However, the New York City Department of Education stands by the city’s approach to assigning schools, specifically at the elementary level where zones matter most. Devora Kaye, a spokesperson for the DOE, explains, “School zones have existed for several decades, and while most students attend kindergarten at their zoned school, there are schools without a zone that give priority to applicants based on other criteria—Districts 1, 7, and 23 are choice districts.” Kaye further emphasizes, “There are also additional elementary school options, and we continue to work with superintendents, Community Education Councils, and parents and families to offer programs and enrollment policies that serve communities’ needs.”

Brooklyn Heights schools

THE COST OF BUYING IN A DESIRED SCHOOL ZONE OR DISTRICT

Despite the DOE’s best intentions, there is no question that some zones and districts continue to be favored over others. Hemphill reports that the most sought after school districts include District 2, which runs south of 96th Street on the east side and south of 59th Street on the west side but excludes the Lower East Side (the LES has long been represented by a separate school district); District 15, which includes Park Slope, Sunset Park, and Cobble Hill; and District 26, which covers Bayside in Queens. What is the cost of living in a desired school district?

Continue reading this story at CityRealty >>

RELATED:

Tags : , ,

MOST RECENT ARTICLES

  • Contract expires for 44,000 NYC subway and bus workers

    Contract expires for 44,000 NYC subway and bus workers

    After the Transport Workers Union and the MTA failed to reach a deal last night, the contracts expired for 44,000 subway ...
  • The pros and cons of living above a bar; own the Big Apple Circus for $500K

    The pros and cons of living above a bar; own the Big Apple Circus for $500K

    You may get special privileges when you live above a bar, but you’ll likely have to deal with noise and ...
  • In the historic West Village Bank Building, a $3.45M condo boasts a 17-foot window

    In the historic West Village Bank Building, a $3.45M condo boasts a 17-foot window

    This unique condo was designed by and for the renowned international designer Tui Pranich. As the listing says, his principle was that ...
  • ‘Ten & Taller’ exhibition maps the rise of Manhattan’s first skyscrapers from 1874 to 1900

    ‘Ten & Taller’ exhibition maps the rise of Manhattan’s first skyscrapers from 1874 to 1900

    Though it might seem that each recent generation attempts to take credit for the rise of the futuristic “skyscraper,” buildings ...
  • With the rise of ride-hailing apps, daily yellow cab trips fell 27 percent since 2010

    With the rise of ride-hailing apps, daily yellow cab trips fell 27 percent since 2010

    6sqft recently shared analysis that 3,000 ridesharing vehicles could replace the city’s fleet of 13,587 taxis. And while this was more ...
  • Cuomo dubs revised 421-a plan ‘Affordable New York,’ advances new legislation

    Cuomo dubs revised 421-a plan ‘Affordable New York,’ advances new legislation

    A year after the city’s 421-a tax exemption program expired, a new version of the affordable housing incentive is officially moving ...
  • This renovated historic townhouse in Mott Haven is only $800,000

    This renovated historic townhouse in Mott Haven is only $800,000

    File this one under things you won’t find in Brooklyn: This pretty, totally modernized 2,828 square-foot Queen Anne row house ...
  • Massive Greenpoint loft with beamed ceilings wants $4,750/month

    Massive Greenpoint loft with beamed ceilings wants $4,750/month

    There are over 1,700 glorious square feet in this Greenpoint loft, now up for rent at the Pencil Factory building ...
  • Weekly highlights: Top picks from the 6sqft staff

    Weekly highlights: Top picks from the 6sqft staff

    Cuomo announces 750-mile Empire State Trail, a continuous trail connecting NYC to Canada Live in ODA’s new Crown Heights rental ...
  • Natalia Geci’s clever furniture system was inspired by Marie Kondo’s de-cluttering principles

    Natalia Geci’s clever furniture system was inspired by Marie Kondo’s de-cluttering principles

    Like many organizationally challenged folks, Argentinean designer Natalia Geci was inspired by Marie Kondo’s bestselling book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.” Following ...
  • FREE RENT: A roundup of NYC’s latest rental concessions

    FREE RENT: A roundup of NYC’s latest rental concessions

    Renovated Apartments on West 30th Street Near Hudson Yards Offering One Month Free [link] Free Rent & Special Offers at ...
  • How to style your houseplants, 5 tips from a pro

    How to style your houseplants, 5 tips from a pro

    One woman’s plant filled bedroom. Image by 6sqft Forget Scandinavian design—when it comes to décor, these days plants are all ...

SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTERS

Thank you, your sign-up request was successful!
This email address is already subscribed, thank you!
Please provide a valid email address.
Please complete the CAPTCHA.
Oops. Something went wrong. Please try again later.