Panel votes to slice Clinton
By Sarina Trangle
The DeWitt Clinton dynasty has lost control of the Castle on the Parkway.
Come fall, DeWitt Clinton High School will share its Mosholu Parkway South campus with two new schools.
The Panel for Educational Policy voted early Tuesday to co-locate two new district high schools inside Clinton’s building and to decrease the school’s enrollment by 40 percent over four years to accommodate the new institutions.
The plan passed eight to four despite opposition from four panel members appointed by borough presidents. Diane Peruggia, the Staten Island representative, sided with seven PEP members selected by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and cast her vote for the co-locations. The eighth mayoral appointee, PEP Chair Tino Hernandez, was absent.
By the time public comment started, two-thirds of the people packed into the Brooklyn Tech auditorium had left.
Alan Ettman, an English teacher and United Federation Chapter leader at Clinton, said Bronx students would lose out if the borough’s last large, comprehensive high school was dismantled. With the school’s size shrinking, three of Clinton’s six academic tracks –– animal professions, future teachers and public and community service –– will no longer admit freshmen.
“When the mayor is bleating for six years about school choice ... it is the height of hypocrisy to eliminate one choice that has successfully educated millions of New York City students for many years,” said Mr. Ettman, a Kingsbridge resident.
As the last traditional high school standing in the Bronx, Clinton received a rash of students, according to Kate Martin-Bridge, a math teacher and ninth-grade academy director. About four or five years ago, Clinton’s enrollment was at 168 percent of the DOE’s target capacity for the building. She said the school became populated with more special-needs students during this influx.
By this fall, the incoming freshman class contained 649 students who didn’t meet state standards on eighth grade exams, 150 students who were deemed proficient and one student who exceeded state benchmarks, Ms. Martin-Bridge said.