The Panel for Educational Policy voted unanimously on March 1 to replace the soon-to-be-phased-out John F. Kennedy High School with two charter schools.
The New Visions Charter High School for the Humanities and The New Visions Charter High School for Advanced Math and Science will begin taking ninth graders next school year. JFK will eliminate its ninth grade and gradually reduce in size over the next four years as the New Visions charters grow to full capacity.
The vote took place at Brooklyn Technical High School and drew a few hundred people and a small protest. It was more subdued than last month’s vote to phase Kennedy out.
Although local leaders have expressed concern that the new schools will not serve the needs of local students, only one person — the vice president of New Visions — spoke specifically about the proposal to replace Kennedy with charters.
“We’re proud to be considered for placement on the Kennedy campus … we believe families need and want choice,” Ronald Chaluisan said.
Mr. Chaluisan added that the new schools’ leaders will collaborate with other principals working on the Kennedy campus “to develop opportunities for all students.”
Bronx PEP representative Monica Major did not specifically address JFK or the charters that will replace it during a question and answer session that followed a three-hour public comment period.
Last month, Julia Chun, the proposed principal for Advanced Math and Science, as well as leaders of other proposed schools, were introduced to the public. Councilman Oliver Koppell stood up and loudly voiced his concern that the charters would leave a number of local teens out in the cold. He said since the schools require applications and cap grades at 125 they will not be able to take “over the counter” students, or those who did not go through the normal high schools admissions process because they are new to the country, homeless or for any other reason.
District 10 Community Education Council President Marvin Shelton has expressed similar concerns, although neither leader showed up to the vote.