However, they were told before the meeting began that the rezoning proposed by the Department of Education (DOE) was going to be withdrawn.
“There will be no zone change at 229,” announced District 24 Community Education Council president Nick Comaianni.
The plan would have created a new zoning map designed to relieve overcrowding in District 24. However many kids, some with siblings already at P.S. 229 on 51st Road in Maspeth, would have been forced to attend another school.
Comanianni said DOE became aware of the strong opposition to the plan and decided to withdraw the proposal.
“As always, we make a point of engaging with the community around all of our proposals,” said Harry Hartfield, a spokesperson for DOE. “This is a case in which community feedback directed us to revise our plan, and as a result P.S. 229 will no longer be incorporated in the proposed rezoning.”
Comanianni said that each member of CEC24 works closely with one school in the district. He credits board member Bill Kregler for working with parents in opposing the proposal.
“It was dead in the water the night they showed us the presentation,” said Kregler. “It was not going to happen.”
Kregler said the proposal was presented for the first time to the public and the CEC simultaneously. He criticized the process, and said that it might be better in the future if the CEC can view projects first and comment on them in order to quell potential concerns.
Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley praised parents for their advocacy at last week's meeting.
“As a community you guys in 229 made noise and you fought the fight,” she said. “And you won.”
Jackie Howorth has a son in second grade and a daughter that just started pre-K at P.S. 229, but if the proposal had been adopted her youngest daughter would have been forced to attend a different school.
“My youngest daughter would have to be sent to P.S. 153 on Fresh Pond Road,” she said. “Who wants to put their kindergartener on the bus?”
Howorth said parents handed out petitions and fliers and urged other parents to email DOE demanding it abandon the proposal.
“We did everything we could,” Howorth said. “We contacted everybody and it worked. We’re very happy.”