If you’re looking for a NYC rental apartment, and you have children anywhere from the ages of 3 to 17, one of the things you have to consider is quality of the school in the catchment area (otherwise knows as the NYC public school zone) of whatever new home you with which you fall in love.
To live in a Manhattan no-fee rental apartment that lies within the zone of a good public school is like hitting the lottery twice. I’m not exaggerating: with the tuition of many of the city’s best private elementary, middle and high schools approaching–and, in one case, passing–$40,000 A YEAR, a free school, right nearby, that educates your children with care and creativity, is perhaps the most valuable amenity any NYC apartment can offer.
No surprise, then, that when the Department of Education goes around and starts changing public school zones, and so suddenly a child has to attend a new, maybe-not-as-desirable-school, tempers among residents of the affected areas are quick to explode.
Now, this might seem pretty obvious, but DNAinfo has had numerous stories recently of residents of Manhattan rental apartments livid at the unexpected changes in the school zoning for their neighborhood.
In Chelsea, for instance, families learned that the influx of residents into all those West Chelsea rental apartments and condos that have sprung up around the High Line–not to mention the impending development of the huge empty lot know as Hudson Yards, which could bring as many as 13,000 new housing units to the area–forced the Department of Education to propose fairly drastic change to the public school zones of the entire neighborhood.
The rezoning would effect many Chelsea rental apartment residents, but a first glance it appears that the most angry group of families are those living in the Penn South buildings, who will have to pull their children from the well-liked P.S. 11 starting in the 2012 – 2013 year.
On the other side of the same rezoning coin, families in West Village apartments below 17th Street who now have a choice of sending their kids to either P.S. 41 or P.S. 3 would, if the proposal goes through, have to send them to P.S. 11, and they aren’t happy about that either!
Another guaranteed-to-be contentious issue facing families of NYC rental apartments: when the school-age population of your neighborhood increases so much–usually via new development, but sometimes through a change in the character of the community–that the Department of Education is forced to open a completely new school.
Obviously, this is seen as a great opportunity for families in the affected area… and, just as obviously, those same families can have very different opinions about what that new school should be.
This debate is going on right now among families in Upper East Side apartments, who are faced with launching a new public middle school in their community. Thing is, some UES residents want this new middle school to be of the “gifted” variety, which requires children to score a certain percentage on a standard test in order to be accepted; others are adamant that the new middle school should be of excellent quality AND open to all. Stay tuned.
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