The city Department of Education (DOE) doesn’t blink when closing schools — and parents fear School District 20 will be targeted next.
“A lot of parents are very nervous because they’re thinking, ‘I have a seventh-grader or an eighth-grader, where are they going to go to school? What’s the future?’” explained Laurie Windsor, president of the Community Education Council (CEC) for District 20, which spans Bay Ridge, Fort Hamilton, Borough Park and part of Bensonhurst.
In January, the DOE’s Panel for Educational Policy (PEP) voted to close 19 schools.
Shortly after that, the state Education Department listed several Brooklyn schools as “persistently lowest achieving.” The DOE is now considering restructuring options, such as closure, for these schools.
They are Sheepshead Bay High School at 3000 Avenue X, Franklin D. Roosevelt High School at 5800 20th Avenue, John Dewey High School at 50 Avenue X, William E. Grady Vocational High School at 25 Brighton Fourth Road, Boys and Girls High School at 1700 Fulton Street, Automotive High School at 50 Bedford Avenue, School for Global Studies at 284 Baltic Street, and Cobble Hill School of American Studies at 347 Baltic Street.
With so many local schools in jeopardy of being closed, there’s concern that the DOE will soon look at District 20’s high schools, which include Fort Hamilton at 8301 Shore Road, New Utrecht at 1601 80th Street, and Telecommunication Arts and Technology at 350 67th Street.
“Fort Hamilton has been a School in Need of Improvement for a number of years,” Windsor noted.
She said that’s due to disappointing scores on math and English Language Arts (ELA) exams for English Language Learners (ELL).
“How many of these kids don’t speak a word of English? How are they supposed to graduate high school?” Windsor said.
City Councilman Vincent Gentile does not believe all large high schools should be replaced with small or charter schools.
“As long as a school is serving its students and community, its doors should stay open,” Gentile said. “Large schools offer enriching programs that smaller schools can’t necessarily offer, and they provide an invaluable foundation for local students and families.”