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theschoolboards
09-08-2011, 03:05 PM
From the N.Y. Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/08/education/08numbers.html) by Anna M. Phillips:

In the beginning, there was Public School 1. Then it got messy.

There are actually four P.S. 1s in New York City: That first school, established in 1806 and later named for Alfred E. Smith (Manhattan); the Courtlandt School (the Bronx); the Bergen (Brooklyn); and the Tottenville (Staten Island). Plus, of course, the P.S. 1 in Long Island City, Queens, which now houses a contemporary-art museum. There are also three P.S. 2s, three P.S. 3s and four P.S. 4s.

In a system of 1,700 schools, the numbering can be dizzying. For children starting at Public School 8 this week, they might be traveling to Washington Heights or Brooklyn Heights, or two other places. And if teachers are assigned to work at Public School 75 on the Upper West Side, they should not necessarily assume that it opened before Public School 76, about a mile north, or that it bears any relationship to the P.S. 75 that was on the Lower East Side many years earlier.

The fact that the numbers are repeated across boroughs is, in part, because the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island originally had their own school systems. But over the decades, as the city has closed, moved and razed school buildings and, recently, opened lots of new ones the sequential numbering of schools has disappeared.

You start out with a deck of cards with all of the suits in order, and over the course of a century the deck has been shuffled so many times that it doesnt have meaning anymore, said Stephan F. Brumberg, a historian of education at Brooklyn College.

Today, the Education Department uses an allocation code management system to do the work. When a new school is created, a computer assigns it a number, careful not to repeat within a borough; that code is sent to the state for approval.

read more>> (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/08/education/08numbers.html)