The state is expected to reveal this month whether 25 low-performing New York City schools will be taken over or even forced to close. But if history is any guide, it’s likely most schools will be spared.
Those potential consequences are part of the state’s “receivership” law, championed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo as a way to give the state more power to aggressively intervene in struggling schools that had floundered for years.
To avoid that fate, the schools must meet a range of goals around measures like attendance, suspension, and graduation rates.
But even though more schools are in the receivership program’s crosshairs (just three “persistently struggling” city schools were considered for takeover last year), observers say the state has not deployed the program aggressively, making it unlikely that most schools will actually be taken over or forced to close.
Across the state, just one school has been threatened with takeover so far: a middle school in the Bronx that was closed last year and replaced with a new school. Meanwhile, state officials have gradually reduced the number of city schools in the program over the past two years — from 62 down to 25.
“My guess is there will not be much action,” said Aaron Pallas, a Teachers College professor.
All 25 city schools in the receivership program are already part of the city’s own “Renewal” turnaround program, and Mayor Bill de Blasio has said the city is conducting its own review of those schools that will result in additional mergers and closures.
“The fact that the city is being a bit more vocal about shutting down struggling schools may make it seem like less of a priority for the state,” Pallas added.
City Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña, who could be forced to cede control of schools that fail to meet their goals, has indicated that at least one school on the list — August Martin High School in Queens — will definitely avoid closure. (She assured parents it would remain open during a public hearing, which the city is required to hold at each receivership school.)
The State Education Department’s willingness to remove schools from the program, sparing them from outside takeovers, has previously frustrated the governor. But Cuomo, who pushed for the receivership law as a more aggressive intervention for struggling schools, has warmed to the approach favored by Mayor de Blasio and the state’s unions: infusing struggling schools with resources instead of shutting them down.
The state will announce its decisions about the city’s 25 receivership schools in late October, according to a letter posted on the state’s website, though officials cautioned that the timeline is tentative.
Below are the city’s receivership schools.
BANANA KELLY HIGH SCHOOL
BRONX MATHEMATICS PREP SCH (THE)
HERBERT H LEHMAN HIGH SCHOOL
HUNTS POINT SCHOOL (THE)
MS 301 PAUL L DUNBAR
BRONX HIGH SCHOOL OF BUSINESS
IS 219 NEW VENTURE SCHOOL
NEW MILLENNIUM BUSINESS ACAD MS
DEWITT CLINTON HIGH SCHOOL
PS 85 GREAT EXPECTATIONS
BRONX SCHOOL OF PERFORMING ARTS
IS 117 JOSEPH H WADE (Persistently Struggling)
BRONX JHS 22 JORDAN L MOTT (Persistently Struggling)
JUAN MOREL CAMPOS SECONDARY SCHOOL
BOYS AND GIRLS HIGH SCHOOL
CYPRESS HILLS COLLEGIATE PREP SCHOOL
PS 165 IDA POSNER
PS 298 DR BETTY SHABAZZ
FLUSHING HIGH SCHOOL
MARTIN VAN BUREN HIGH SCHOOL
AUGUST MARTIN HIGH SCHOOL
PS 111 JACOB BLACKWELL