Future of Beacon School to be Debated Monday

By Emily Frost on November 25, 2013 12:32pm 

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 The building will be vacant by the Fall of 2015, opening it up to use as a new middle or high school. 
Education Leaders to Host Meeting on Beacon Building
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UPPER WEST SIDE — Education leaders are hosting a meeting Monday night to get more community input on the future of Beacon High School and discuss their thoughts with the Department of Education. 

Debate over the West 61st Street school's next use has been under way for more than a year as education advocates gather public input, with the goal of achieving a coherent vision for the school that they can relay to the DOE. 

In the fall of 2012, the DOE told the Community Education Council 3 it could direct and drive the process in deciding the building's next life as a school. The high school inside is moving to Hell's Kitchen, leaving its building vacant as of fall 2015. 

At the meeting, set for 6:30 p.m. in the Joan of Arc Auditorium at 154 W. 93rd St., the DOE will give a presentation on the condition of the building and share district enrollment numbers to help inform decisions about its future.

A working group set up by Community Board 7 — made up of education leaders and community members — will also present its findings and recommendations on what kind of programming the school should have, which students it should serve, and improvements that must be made.

The Department of Education rents the Beacon School building, but the agency did not comment on its current lease situation.

"Our goal is to move as quickly as possible," CEC 3 President Joe Fiordaliso told members of the public at their bi-monthly meeting this past Wednesday. 

"We hope to have a resolution [on Beacon] passed by the council on Dec. 11."

But one parent testified last week that the Beacon building didn't have the same amenities as other middle and high school buildings in the district, including outdoor space and an upgraded gymnasium. 

"Don’t sell our kids short, they deserve better...The CEC should hold out for a better deal," said parent Laurie Frey. 

Frey added that the evaluation process had already dragged on too long.

"I’m tired of having my inbox filled up with Beacon notices and I’m tired of having my time wasted," she told the CEC. 

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