MALONEY FORUM YIELDS COMMITMENT FROM NEW YORK CITY BOARD OF EDUCATION PRESIDENT WILLIAM THOMPSON AND BOARD MEMBER DR. IRVING HAMER FOR A NEW ACADEMICALLY RIGOROUS HIGH SCHOOL ON THE EAST SIDE
NEW YORK: Last night, at a town forum that she organized and moderated, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (Manhattan, Queens) received a commitment from the President of the New York City Board of Education, William Thompson, and Board of Education member Dr. Irving Hamer, to construct an academically rigorous public high school on the East Side. Dr. Hamer indicated that the school, which will challenge its students with an AP (Advanced Placement) track and emphasize a college preparatory curriculum, will be located in a large existing school building at 96th Street and 1st Avenue. President Thompson suggested that a reasonable time frame for the school's completion would be September 2002.
Said Maloney: "This is the single most important step made in developing an academically rigorous high school on the East Side. For six years, parents in my district have repeatedly requested the development and construction of an East Side high school. They have challenged decisions made by the Board of Education, doggedly searched for a viable site on the East Side, and contacted numerous elected officials to make their hope for a high school heard. Their time has now come."
The town forum, moderated by Maloney and sponsored by various community groups including the Coalition of East Side Elected Officials, Community Board 8, and numerous parents' groups, was a stunning success. Prior to the meeting, the possibility of creating a new, academically rigorous high school on the East Side seemed daunting. The Board of Education's commitment to create a school seemed unclear, and the local parents' groups who first contacted Maloney had seen little success in years of struggle. The two significant successes achieved at the forum and announced by Board of Education President William Thompson and Board Member Dr. Irving Hamer were as follows:
1) The Board has agreed to establish a task-force made up of education professionals, elected officials, and parents' groups. The task-force's sole goal will be to develop a plan for the East Side high school. Board President Thompson has agreed to chair the task-force in its initial stages.
2) Most important, Maloney secured a commitment from Thompson to allow the large 96th Street building to be seriously considered as a site for the new school. Said Thompson to the approximately 150 parents at the meeting: "This site is realistic, doable and has a time frame of 18 months, opening in September 2002. We will expend the money for this school. You have our commitment."
Dr. Hamer, presenting the possibility of the 96th Street site, said: "What is currently there (in the school), we can change, incorporate, add a new building-whatever we have to do to get a new, highly rigorous school with an AP track." An enthusiastic Maloney said, "This certainly is progress. President Thompson and Dr. Hamer deserve credit for moving forward with this proposal. We have accomplished something groundbreaking here. We have the Board's commitment and a site. We now have a concrete plan for a school."