Nothing identifies a community more than its schools. Historically, many communities were designed around them. For most children, schools are their first chance to interact with the wider community outside of their own families. Children establish lifelong friendships with others who live in close proximity to them. Communities gather there to vote, view performances and play in the schoolyard. It is no surprise that schools are among the greatest pillars of our community.
Change the school and you change the fabric of the community itself. Yet that is exactly what the proposed Maspeth school rezoning will do. The fact that they are rushing this dramatic change is even more disconcerting. Under the proposed rezoning, children who are a mere three blocks away from PS 229 will have to be bused to PS 153, while children from Roosevelt Avenue will be bused across dangerous Queens Boulevard despite being mere blocks from PS 12. The city claims this will alleviate congestion despite the fact that many children who now walk to school will have to be driven or bused long distances.
Not only will this proposal create more congestion, separate siblings and reduce property values, it will also send children from one of the best schools in the district to a lower-performing one. But perhaps even worse than that, it will change the character of our community. Children who live mere blocks apart will never get the chance to form friendships. The focus of our communities will change. Students and parents will not get to interact as they walk their children to school, as generations before them have.
Please call all of your elected officials and the school district to protest this change.