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East New York GED program gets final state funding rejection

Things are looking grim for Alpha School.

Despite the East New York alternative program’s last-minute attempts to convince the state agency that it had made a wrong decision, Alpha School will not be funded by the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services next year.

Until last week, the program’s director, Barry Addison, had been in talks with OASAS commissioners and had been told to “sit tight.” But yesterday an agency official called to tell Addison, or Mr. B, of their final decision not to restore funding.

“They said, well, a decision was made, and they had closed their budget gap partly with closing me down,” he said. “There was nothing left for me to say.”

One of the city’s GED Plus programs, Alpha School graduated 32 students with GED diplomas last week. It has also garnered widespread community support, from officers in Brooklyn’s 75th precinct and politicians like State Sen. John Sampson.

Mr. B says he’ll spend the summer trying to find private-sector funds to open the school’s doors again in six weeks.

“It’s not what I do, I just don’t know how to reach out to philanthropists,” he said. “But if I’m going to do anything, I have to reach out.”

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