One of the 19 New York City schools that narrowly escaped closure earlier this year may not be as safe as it had thought—this time because of low enrollment numbers.
A judge put a halt to the phasing out of these schools in March, after ruling that the Department of Education had not followed state procedure. However, the DOE is appealing the ruling, and sent out letters to eighth grade applicants warning them of the pending phase-out.
“After getting those letters, most parents didn't want to come within 10,000 miles of these schools,” said James Eterno, a teacher's union representative from Jamaica High School in Queens. The DOE's letter, coupled with the bad publicity from the school's potential closure, has left it with only 23 incoming freshmen, compared with more than 400 in years past, Mr. Eterno said.
“They're starving the school to death. We can't run our programs with only 23 kids,” Mr. Eterno said.
Because of the low enrollment numbers, teachers speculate that two smaller schools—the newly created High School for Community Leadership and the Hillside Arts and Letters Academy—will open up in Jamaica's building, in addition to Queens Collegiate, a school with 163 ninth- and tenth-grade students that is already in a wing on the school's third floor.
Photo from the NY Times