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Board Approves Change to GNPS Optional Zone

Map of Optional Attendance Zone

At the January 11, 2018 meeting of the Great Neck Board of Education, the Board unanimously approved a change to the district’s optional attendance zone. The optional zone in Great Neck Public Schools refers to residences which are zoned for E.M. Baker School and South High School or Saddle Rock School and South High School. Please visit our Optional Attendance Zone page for more information.

The optional attendance zone was implemented by the Board of Education for the 2008-2009 school year to combat overcrowding and to balance student enrollment among the secondary schools. This practice allowed students from E.M. Baker and Saddle Rock elementary schools, which are normally zoned for South High School, to exercise the option to attend North Middle or North High School instead. This successful solution resulted in near-identical enrollment numbers on both North and South campuses through the 2017-2018 school year.

To maintain the balance of student enrollment moving forward, the Board of Education adopted a revision to the optional attendance zone on Jan. 11 that allows only students entering sixth-grade and residing within the optional attendance zone to attend North Middle School instead of South Middle School. Any other request for a school assignment that differs from a student’s designated attendance zone will only be considered through the variance process. This variance approach has addressed such requests for many years.

“The optional attendance zone has alleviated overcrowding and equalized enrollment in our secondary schools,” states Board of Education president Barbara Berkowitz, who added that the Board monitors school enrollment data through monthly reports. “The optional attendance zone continues to be in the best interest of our students.”

Dr. Stephen Lando, assistant superintendent for secondary education, presented an optional attendance zone analysis to the Board of Education at their meeting on Dec. 6. This presentation, which is currently available on the district website at, provided past enrollment data from the optional zone and enrollment projections moving forward. The presentation demonstrated great accuracy in regard to past projections, and Dr. Lando is confident in the projections over the next five years.

“The optional attendance zone has been an ideal solution without adding expenses or disrupting service, while maximizing district resources,” explains Dr. Lando. Based on enrollment projections, this revision to the optional attendance zone will ensure the effectiveness of this program moving forward.