There’s a new sheriff in Canarsie.
The city Department of Education (DOE) has teamed with local elected officials to create a task force which will decide where a controversial transfer school opens this September.
The East Brooklyn Community High School, serving students aged 16 to 20 who struggled in traditional classroom settings, was slated to open in the new school building at 965 East 107th Street, which would also house a middle school.
But residents protested the placement, as the new building was initially advertised as an elementary and middle school. They also fear that the high school’s students would bully the middle school students and wreak havoc on neighborhood streets.
Now, it seems that political wrangling will ultimately decide the transfer school’s fate.
The task force comprises representatives for Assemblymember Nick Perry, State Senator John Sampson, City Councilmember Charles Barron, the City Council Land Use Committee, and the DOE’s facilities team.
James Dandridge, president of District 18’s Community Education Council (CEC), says parents are allowing their local elected officials to negotiate on their behalf.
“When the [East 107th Street] school [building] was proposed, the DOE stated that the school would be a K-8 school and that was what was approved by the City Council,” Dandridge said. “[Barron] is contending that they are in violation of the law by changing the concept of the school.”
Dandridge believes that there is room for another transfer school in Canarsie — at least two already exist — but in a more suitable location.
He recommended housing the East Brooklyn Community High School in the now-vacant Holy Family school building at the corner of Flatlands Avenue and Rockaway Parkway.
“I have no problem with the transfer school coming into the community but I just feel that it should be in an alternative building, not one housing middle school children,” Dandridge said.
©2009 Community News Group
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