By Joe Anuta
The city Department of Education is proposing to slash enrollment at Flushing High School over the next four years and locate two additional high schools within its walls.
The DOE released a proposal Jan. 17 that detailed plans to place two new high schools housing about 450 students each within the building, at 35-01 Union St.
The population of the current high school, home to several academies and programs, is projected to dwindle from 3,032 students this year to just less than 2,200 students by the 2016-17 school year. The overall population at the school, now at about 150 percent capacity, is not expected to seriously fluctuate as the new schools are added.
One of the new high schools will be specially geared to Chinese-speaking students, according to the DOE.
The declining enrollment at Flushing may affect students now taking some of the elective course offerings there and will cut funding to the school. The DOE contends that the reduction will make the school easier to manage and could serve as an opportunity to improve.
“Flushing has struggled with low performance despite the considerable support that the DOE has offered to the school,” the proposal said. “As a result, there is a need to provide better options for families in the community.”
The DOE tried to close Flushing HS last year, but the action was stopped by a lawsuit. The city has not put Flushing back on any closure list so far this year.
But the idea is not winning over everyone outside the city administration, including Dmytro Fedkowskyj, a member of the DOE’s Panel for Educational Policy, which is set to vote on this proposal March 11.
He is the only member representing Queens who was not appointed by the mayor and said the city should instead give the current Flushing HS more resources to bolster its performance level. The school received a C grade in the 2009-10 school year, and two D grades in subsequent years.
“The DOE has made a decision to move forward with these proposals because they believe it will help Flushing High School, but I’m not convinced it will solve Flushing High School’s situation,” he said. “What they need is dedicated resources and time to turn themselves around under the new leadership of Principal Magdalen Radovich.”
Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.