The Department of Education last week announced plans to colocate three new schools on the campuses of Newtown and Flushing high schools next year. One school will be placed at Newtown while the other two will share space at Flushing High School.
The move has raised eyebrows with many who say both schools — especially Flushing — are already operating at or over capacity and cannot fit anymore students.
The two new schools that are being proposed for Flushing “will offer rigorous academic programming that will prepare students for postsecondary education and careers.” At Newtown, a new International High School is being proposed, which the DOE said will be geared toward immigrant students — a group that makes up a large bloc of Newtown’s student body.
“International schools are designed to provide quality education for recently arrived immigrant students through a unique educational model, which will offer rigorous academic programming to prepare English Language Learner (“ELL”) students for postsecondary college and careers,” the DOE said in its proposal announcement.
The department added that it will reduce enrollment in both existing schools beginning in September in order to maximize educational programs at the new schools.
The proposals have left some wondering why the department chose these schools for these colocations.
“I was surprised to see these proposals. Usually colocations are proposed when spaceisavailable in a building and/or if there is aneighborhood or community demand foranother choice,” said Dmytro Fedkowskyj, Queens’ representative on the Panel for Educational Policy, which will ultimately vote on the proposal in March. “There is very little space at Newtown andFlushing is above capacity, based on the proposals.It’s news to me thatthecommunitywishes to share space in an already-crowded building.I attended the early engagement meeting at Flushing and what wasdeeply desiredbythe community wasa real plan from the DOE that cansustain long-term results for their struggling students.”
Both Flushing and Newtown were among the seven high schools the DOE moved to close and reopen under new names last year. That plan was blocked by a court order after unions representing teachers and administrators sued the city. The DOE has not placed the schools on its list of potential closures this year.
A public hearing is scheduled for the Flushing colocations on Feb. 22 at 6 p.m. in the school, located at 35-01 Union St.
Written comments can be emailed to D25proposals@schools.nyc.gov and oral comments can be left at (212)-374-7621. A public hearing on the Newtown colocation is scheduled for Feb. 27 at 6 p.m. at the school, located at 48-01 90 St. in Elmhurst. Written comments can be sent to D24proposals@schools.nyc.gov and oral comments can be left at (212) 374-7621.
The Panel for Educational Policy is slated to vote on the proposals on March 11.