2012-08-08 / Front Page

New Principals At Five Queens High Schools

By LIZ GOFF

Despite a recent court ruling that shot down Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s plan to restructure 24 ailing city schools, new principals will greet students at five Queens high schools when the bell rings on opening day.
Principals at Long Island City H.S., Flushing, August Martin, Richmond Hill and John Adams High Schools have rejected offers to return for the 2012/13 semesters, according to the city Department of Education (DOE).
Principals will remain in place at William Cullen Bryant and Newtown High Schools, DOE said.
The United Federation of Teachers and the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators took DOE to arbitration over Bloomberg’s controversial “turnaround” plan, which calls for replacing principals and more than half the teachers at each of the troubled schools.
A state Supreme Court Judge last month upheld an arbitrator’s ruling that the method outlined in the turnaround plan violated a stipulation in the unions’ contracts regarding removal of teachers and principals based on seniority.
The city says it intends to appeal the ruling, but the court is unlikely to make a decision on the matter before the start of the new school year, so the DOE sent letters to teachers and principals who had been dismissed, offering them their jobs back. Principals at five schools declined the offer.
DOE officials said they would not know “for several weeks” how many of the teachers have decided to return to their classes.
On another note, DOE officials last week confirmed that seven Queens high schools that were closed as part of the “turnaround” plan will keep their original names.
“Your school will open in September with the original school name,” DOE officials said in a letter to principals.
Elaine Goram, the DOE official overseeing the plan wrote, “Please use our original school name…for all business transactions and communications.”
DOE officials also instructed principals to reach out to teachers who were laid off as part of the plan, to determine if they are interested in returning or if they have accepted other offers. Under the court ruling, teachers who were laid off as part of the plan may retain their positions.
Goram said in the letter that parents of students at the “turnaround” schools will receive information by mail “in early August” regarding the current status of the schools.
Under the “turnaround” plan, Long Island City H.S. was to be renamed, “Long Island City Global Scholars Academies of Long Island City and William Cullen Bryant H.S. would have opened its fall semester as, Bryant Academy of Humanities and Applied Sciences at the William Cullen Bryant Campus.

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