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DOE Delays Decision on Whether to Expand Chelsea Middle School

 Clinton School for Writers and Artists was expected to open at 10 E. 15th St. with a new high school by fall 2015.
Clinton School for Writers and Artists was expected to open at 10 E. 15th St. with a new high school by fall 2015.
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DNAinfo/Heather Holland

UNION SQUARE — A Chelsea middle school was left in limbo last week when city officials said they had not yet made a decision on whether to allow the school to expand in 2015.

The Clinton School for Writers and Artists won approval last year to add a high school and move to a larger home in Union Square. But after Mayor Bill de Blasio took office, the Department of Education decided to take more time to review the decision, along with dozens of other school moves that were approved under former Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

“It’s not set to happen for another year and a half now, so we’re just taking extra time to consider,” said Harry Hartfield, a spokesman for the DOE. “No decision’s been made right now, but we’ll make sure to have one before students have to consider those options.”

The DOE did not provide a timeline for making a decision, which left parents worried that the delay will jeopardize the school's first round of high school applications.

“[2015] is not that far away,” said Liz Craig, mother of a sixth-grader attending the Clinton School. “[The school] is working all the time on the curriculum for the new high school. In the fall of [2014], they have to have it all pulled together so that people know what they’re offering.”

“I hope that they speed this up somehow,” she continued.

Last summer, the DOE approved the expansion under the condition that the Clinton School received a C grade or higher on its 2012-2013 progress report. The school scored a 98, the highest grade of all middle schools in the city.

If the plan is approved a second time, Clinton will open with both middle and high school students — a total of 730 seats in all — when it moves from its current building at 425 W. 23rd St. to its new home at 10 E. 15th St., which is currently under construction.

“I don’t think we need to be worried about it, but it’s annoying,” Craig said of the delayed decision. “There’s a lot of work that has to go into this, and I just hope it’s not for naught.”