By Ivan Pereira
The city is set to determine the fate of another southeast Queens school next week, but a city councilman said he and his fellow elected officials are ready to fight the decision.
Councilman Ruben Wills (D-South Ozone Park) said he had no doubt the city Panel for Educational Policy would vote to shut down IS 231, at 145-00 Springfield Blvd., during a special hearing next Tuesday night at Brooklyn Technical High School.
The panel voted to phase out Jamaica and Beach Channel high schools nearly three weeks ago despite huge protests from parents, teachers and other supporters, who contended that the schools did not get enough resources to improve students’ failing grades.
“The PEP is a rubber stamp for the mayor. They’re going keep pushing the mayor’s agenda unless they’re stopped,” Wills said.
The panel was originally scheduled to vote on IS 231 and PS 30, at 126-10 Bedell St., during the Feb. 3 hearing, but the decision to close both schools was postponed because the mandated DOE public hearings were canceled due to inclement weather. IS 231 is scheduled to have a follow-up meeting next Monday while PS 30 will have its hearing March 10.
The PS 30 vote will take place March 23, according to the DOE.ï»¿
Wills said the DOE was unfairly targeting the two campuses. Although the schools had low graduation rates, the councilman said the administrators were improving. He noted that IS 231 Principal Emmanuel Lubin engaged with parents with better new initiatives that gave them more information on the status of their kidsï»¿. Wills said that a lot of PS 30 students and their parents have come to his office and told him they are pleased with the school’s performance.
“A lot of those things should be taken into account when DOE talks about closing schools,” Wills said.
The councilman said he, Councilman Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans), state Assembly members William Scarborough (D-St. Albans) and Vivian Cook (D-Jamaica) and state Sen. Shirley Huntley (D-Jamaica) are planning to file an injunction against the DOE over the closures. A lawsuit filed by the United Federation of Teachers last year stopped the city from closing Jamaica and Beach Channel.
The councilman was coy about the specifics of the injunction plans.
“The legal needs of the injunction still needs to be worked out,” he said.
Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4546.