Following parents’ protests, the city Department of Education (DOE) may nix its plan to house a transfer high school on East 107th Street — and instead place it in another Canarsie school.
“The siting decision is not final,” explained DOE spokesperson Melody Meyer.
The DOE had planned to house the transfer school, dubbed the East Brooklyn Community High School, in the new school building (which will also hold a middle school) opening this fall at 965 East 107th Street. But local residents objected to using the building as a high school since it was billed as an elementary and junior high school prior to construction.
Seemingly to address concerns, the DOE proposed a new location for the transfer school −− I.S. 211 on East 100th Street.
“Both 366, which is the number for the new building, and 211 are being considered at this point,” Meyer said.
However, that’s not what parents and local politicians want. They held an “emergency meeting” last week at I.S. 211 to vent their frustrations.
“We’re dealing with a chess game where we have to determine one move or the other, one spot or the other. It seems that’s the kind of position the DOE wants to put us in,” said state Assemblymember Nick Perry.
Nonetheless, Perry asserted, “We’re not going to accept a transfer school in either of these locations.”
There are two transfer high schools currently operating in Canarsie — Brooklyn Bridge Academy on Flatlands Avenue and Olympus Academy on East 100th Street, Perry noted.
Considering that, residents said Canarsie doesn’t need another transfer school.
“Why do we need so many transfer schools in Canarsie? What is wrong with the regular schools in Canarsie,” said East 108th Street resident Maria Garrett.
“You think this is happening on the Upper East Side? Hell no because they would not allow it,” said Enga Billinghurst, a member of I.S. 211’s Parent Association (PA).
Meyer said there are 2,000 students in School District 18, which includes Canarsie and East Flatbush, who are eligible for transfer high schools. Since each transfer school can accommodate 250 students, District 18 is actually underserved, she said.
“The zip codes in the district are some of the highest need in terms of students who have fallen behind in high school by at least two years. That’s the transfer school demographic,” Meyer said. “Even with multiple transfer schools in the district, we’re still not meeting that need.”
Some residents expressed fear that I.S. 211, which received an A on its annual school report card from the DOE, would suffer if the transfer school moves in.
Meyer argued, “We don’t make facilities decisions based on the performance of a school. There are many, many schools sharing space and they can both succeed.”
Residents also expressed concern about safety, saying high school students are often rowdy.
“We are going to need more police protection,” Garrett said. “Homes are going to be vandalized.
To maintain students’ safety while in school, the DOE will limit interaction between the high school and middle school students.