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With the prospect of having Junior High School 80 closing, parents and teachers have decided to fight back.
The Department of Education has announced the school located at 1149 E. Mosholu Parkway could shutter at the end of June and reopen under new staffing criteria and a new name.
A public hearing on Monday, April 16, will bring the the matter before the community.
An Education Department Policy Panel vote will be held 10 days later, on Thursday, April 26.
The school is located in Community School District 10 and currently serves students in grades six through eight.
The DOE is proposing to immediately replace J.H.S. 80 with a new district middle school, 10X575, which will also serve students in grades six through eight.
According to the DOE’s proposal, the DOE strives to ensure that all students in New York City have access to a high-quality school at every stage of their education.
By closing J.H.S. 80 and replacing it with a new school, the DOE dsaid it is seeking to improve educational quality in the building.
If this proposal is approved, the DOE intends to develop rigorous, school-specific qualifications to screen prospective staff, including J.H.S. 80 staff who apply to work at the new school.
According to the proposal, the new school plans to develop new programs and school supports that are intended to improve student outcomes.
The DOE also plans to maximize the school’s chance of receiving up to $900,000 in each of the next two years, for a total of $1,800,000 over both years, in supplemental federal funding under the federal School Improvement Grant program.
Since the announcement made by the DOE for the potential closure, community residents and merchants have developed “Friends of M.S. 80”, a local organization dedicated to informing the community about the proposal and ensuring a large turn out at the public hearing, which most believe will play a key role in saving the school.
“M.S. 80, in my opinion, is not a school; it is a community engine to make our world a better place,” organizing director for the group, Anthony Rivieccio, said. “It is a place where Bedford Park and Norwood students have been learning for decades, and now all of a sudden, it went bad?”
Since last week, organizers have discussed and met with several local elected officials, and have also gained support from the United Teachers Federation, the 204th Street-Bainbridge Avenue merchant association, Community Board 7, and the Bedford and Mosholu Community Association.
“We have worked very closely with the school to provide supplemental education and to the best of my knowledge they are still fulfilling that mission,” vice chairwoman of Community Board 7, Adeline Walker said. “Closing it down risks both the program and the kids.”
The new school will reside in the old school. The proposal offered no information on potential physical plant alterations.
The school serves 647 students.
©2012 Community Newspaper Group
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