BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — A plan to move a high-performing high school into the same building as one that's struggling was withdrawn to give more time for community discussion, officials said.
Under the proposal, Crown Heights’ Medgar Evers College Preparatory School would re-locate into the Boys and Girls High School campus in Bedford-Stuyvesant.
The suggested move drew criticism from members of both school communities, with parents and students from Medgar Evers worried about safety and those from the Bed-Stuy school concerned about resources that would be available to the current students.
The Department of Education withdrew the co-location proposal this week and will continue discussions, DOE officials said.
The decision marks the second time the agency has put the proposal on hold. It was previously withdrawn in March to allow for additional input.
The initial plan suggested re-locating Medgar Evers students to the new campus in two phases, but community members said that the co-location should occur with all grades moving at once.
The proposal was amended based on feedback and was set to be voted on by the Panel for Educational Policy at the end of June.
The agency’s choice to put the proposal on hold comes amid news that the schools’ principal is considering leaving.
Michael Wiltshire, who serves as master principal for both Boys and Girls and Medgar Evers, said he recently interviewed for a position at a Long Island school, but has not yet decided if he will move.
In 2014, the city tapped Wiltshire to lead the Fulton Street Boys and Girls High School, which is designated as a Renewal School for its under performance in recent years.
There have been improvements at Boys and Girls, according to the DOE, with fewer teacher absences, a 4.1 percent decrease in chronic student absenteeism from 2013-14 and 2014-15, as well as a 58 percent dip in suspensions from 2014-15 to this academic year.
Still, the school has been under the community spotlight for recent incidents, including an investigation from the DOE that found that Wiltshire failed to report an allegation of student-on-student sexual harassment to the agency.
Community members have been meeting to discuss concerns over the high school’s future.
Parents expressed worries over lack of resources such as books, and students complain about the absence of soap in their bathrooms or cold water at the fountains, according to members of a Boys and Girls alumni group that has been working to help improve the school.
Wiltshire will remain master principal at Boys and Girls for the rest of the school year, officials said, and should he decide to leave, school superintendent Michael Alcoff will work on finding a replacement.