Leon M. Goldstein High School for the Sciences may maintain some of the most coveted seats in the New York City school system, but some parents are now afraid that the Department of Education is about to ruin all of that. Addressing a meeting of the Manhattan Beach Community Group at P.S. 195 last week, Parents Association President Penny Bergman charged the DOE with giving lip service to the success of small schools like Leon M. Goldstein while failing to improve larger ones like Sheepshead Bay and Lafayette high schools. They take the model of a successful small school and overload it, Bergman said. The DOE had reportedly intended to accept 309 new students into the Leon M. Goldstein, but revised that number after an emergency meeting of the Parents Association held on April 13. That evening it seems that certain people were absolutely deluged with e-mails and phone calls, said Bergman. According to Bergman, the school, located at 1830 Shore Boulevard, has kept student rolls fairly constant accepting roughly an equal number of new students as those graduating in a given year. This year the school will graduate some 170 students, she said, but the DOE is planning to accept about 290 new ones. Leon M. Goldsteins academic track record is so good it was exempted from the citywide uniform curriculum mandated back in 2003. The building was originally built to house 850 students. About 917 students are currently enrolled. It contains 15 regular classrooms. I was told that Tweed wants 1,000 students in the school, said Bergman. Not so, according to DOE Spokesperson Keith Kalb. The application process has changed over the last two years and people are nervous that we are going to have additional spaces in their schools, but its not true, he said. Leon M. Goldstein is classified as an Education Option school. The school ranks students and the selection method admits 50 percent of those ranked students and 50 percent from a random applicant pool, according to the DOE. Students ranked in the top two percent are guaranteed admission. Bergman said that her group had a gentlemens agreement with the DOE that even more students would not be flowing into Leon M. Goldstein. Quite frankly, had it not been for the parents and the community and a lot of people making a lot of noise, we would be looking at growing numbers, she said. I have no doubt about that. Some from the Manhattan Beach Community Group expressed fears that the DOE might attempt to move to a double session during the school day. The Parents Association intends to hold them to that agreement, said Berman. We are a very vociferous group of people, and were doing the best we can. Said Kalb, Theres no change in the overall seats at the school. Theyll be the same number of kids this year as there were last year. The Parents Association plans a legislative forum for May 9 to discuss the enrollment question further. Im not naïve, were doing the best we can, said Berman. Were keeping the pressure on.
©2005 Community News Group
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