BY TRISHA SAKHUJA
The Panel for Education Policy approved a plan late last week to add a new school within Long Island City High School, despite strong opposition from parents, students and the community.
The plan to create a new Career and Technical Education program, which includes enrollment of up to 115 ninth graders for the first year and a new administration, will offer programming in information technology focusing on interactive design, networking and software development.
While parents and members of the Queens Community Education Council are not against creating more CTE programs in Queens, they oppose the co-location because they say the school is working to turn itself around.
Isaac Carmignani, a member of CEC30, said adding a new CTE school in the building would take away from resources and space the students need.
He said the reality is “it gets harder to share resources because sometimes you hurt the extra curricular activities.”
Another worry is the reduced enrollment LICHS will face in order to accommodate up to 460 students in the CTE program over the next four years, which essentially means a reduced budget for the school.
Since LICHS performed below average on its 2011-2012 progress report, the DOE wanted to shut down the school, but after much resentment, the new principal, Vivian Selenikas, along with a determined faculty, teachers and students, are in the process of rebuilding the school from bottom up.
Ken Achiron, a United Federation Teacher chapter leader and longtime teacher at LIC High School, said the dozens of parents and elected officials who spoke against the co-location at last week’s public hearing, along with a signed petition with more than 1,500 signatures, proved the community did not want this co-location to happen.
“So much for democracy; so much for listening to the community,” Achiron said.
He said it is very possible for the new administration to have its new PEP overturn the decision.
DOE spokesperson Harry Hartfield said the City has created more than two dozen career-focused schools in the past 12 years because it gives students the ability to obtain a high school diploma while earning industry-recognized credentials.
“This will be a new option that will deliver great outcomes for children, and we’re confident it will be in very high demand,” Hartfield said
Reach Trisha Sakhuja at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 128, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @Tsakhuja13.