Local photography company claims Maspeth High School admission fiasco is cause for split

Maspeth High School outside
Photo via Google Maps

A Ridgewood-based photography studio known to work with a number of local schools has severed ties with Maspeth High School over the admissions fiasco that omitted hundreds of Catholic school students from the school’s admissions process.

Harisch Studios, which photographs many local schools, weddings and corporate events, announced it will no longer work with the Maspeth school after it was discovered in March that administrators made a “clerical error” that failed to designate 500 students from parochial schools that met the criteria for priority status in the high school’s admissions lottery.

Parents were outraged that children who met Maspeth High School’s criteria to be placed on the priority list during the admissions lottery were left out, while other students who did not meet the criteria were given offers to attend the school.

Harisch Studios president Mark Moss shared in the parents’ outrage.

“All students, regardless of where they have gone to grammar and middle school, should be able to apply on equal footing for seats in local public schools,” he said in a statement. “We strongly believe in the public, private and parochial school systems, and are saddened when one group is unfairly targeted. The children of the community should never be the ones who suffer; neglecting to submit the Catholic school students’ names, along with the fact that they attended open houses or information sessions, causes harm to our local students, and teaches them the wrong lesson.”

The Department of Education (DOE) tried to fix the oversight by holding a second lottery, where 66 Catholic school students received admission offers to Maspeth High School.

For parents, and for Moss, this was not enough.

“We are grateful that the Department of Education attempted to correct the error in judgement,” Moss added. “But an operating philosophy that permits this to occur is one that has to be dramatically changed before the community will again have the trust in the school and the system.

Representatives from Maspeth High School, however, provided a different reason for the split, citing Harisch Studios’ quality of work and issues of lateness.

“There were numerous complaints this year regarding the substandard quality of Mr. Moss’ work and his inability to meet deadlines by members of our school’s community,” Mario Matos, treasurer at Maspeth High School, told QNS in an email on Thursday afternoon. “Due to the mounting complaints, we decided a few months ago to sever ties with him as a vendor. We wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”